LSU interim head coach Ed Orgeron runs with the team out of the tunnel on to the field for the first half of the LSU Southern Miss football game Saturday Oct. 15, 2016, in Tiger Stadium.

At first blush it looks like a huge waste of money. LSU fires Coach Les Miles but is contractually obligated to pay him $9.6 million over six years, or $1.6 million a year. To replace him it hires Coach Ed Orgeron, with an obligation to pay him $3.5 million a year for five years. So, going forward the total head coaching salary for coach plus non-coach (excluding unforeseeable bonuses and raises) is $5.1 million a year. But if Coach Miles had been retained, the total head coaching salary would have been $4.3 million a year, before bonuses and raises. So going forward the net cost of the coaching transition is $800,000 a year, which seems a reasonable price to pay for the enhanced performance expected of Coach O. Economists are trained to evaluate actions on the basis of alternative costs. When applied to the recent coaching change at LSU there seems little to criticize from an economic perspective.

Robert Hebert


Baton Rouge