Photos: Tigers battle the Fighting Irish _lowres

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU head coach Les Miles talks with an official, during the first half Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014 in Nashville at the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.

Editor's note: This story was published Jan. 3.

LSU has reached out to former NFL and Pac-12 assistant Clancy Pendergast in its search for a new defensive coordinator, a source close to the coach told The Advocate on Friday.

“There has been contact,” the source said.

The Tigers have been searching for a defensive coordinator since John Chavis bolted for Texas A&M on Wednesday, a day after LSU lost to Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee.

The search for a replacement includes Pendergast, a 47-year-old Arizona native who had stints as a defensive coordinator with the Arizona Cardinals, the Kansas City Chiefs, California and USC.

One source said the LSU job would be “a great fit” for the coach, and another source said Pendergast would accept the job if offered.

LSU coach Les Miles also reached out to former Auburn coach Gene Chizik, multiple sources said. Chizik, though, has accepted the job as the defensive coordinator at North Carolina, according to multiple reports.

Pendergast spent the past season out of football after being part of the coaching staff at USC that was fired along with then-head coach Lane Kiffin. He’s itching to return to the game — NFL or college — according to a story from last month on

Pendergast is best known, maybe, for crafting the No. 4-ranked defense in the NFL the year the Cardinals advanced to play in Super Bowl XLIII in 2008. Despite that, he was fired from the position.

He spent the next season with the Kansas City Chiefs as defensive coordinator. He was not retained and returned to the college ranks at Cal in 2010.

He took a Bears defense, ranked 71st in the nation the year before he arrived, and had them in the top-25 the next two years. He was fired, along with head coach Jeff Tedford, the next season before joining USC.

The Trojans defense went from 61st nationally in 2012 to 13th in Pendergast’s one season with the program.

“Clancy was fantastic,” said Ed Orgeron, who coached with Pendergast at USC last season.

“His strength is gameday calling,” Orgeron told “He knows how to attack the no-huddle and really can adjust to what the other team’s trying to do. He doesn’t panic on the sidelines and the guy really has no ego.”

Orgeron, the former Ole Miss coach and longtime USC defensive line coach, is out of coaching and living in Mandeville. He says he has not been contacted by LSU for the coordinator job but said on WNXX-FM on Friday that he’d “love to be at LSU.”

Pendergast, meanwhile, seems to be one of a host of coaches who Miles has contacted. He has small Southeastern Conference ties. He got his start as a graduate assistant at Mississippi State in 1991.

He also had a seven-year stint as the Dallas Cowboys defensive backs coach ending in 2002. He had brief roles as a defensive consultant over the past season for the Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons and the Tennessee Volunteers.

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter: @DellengerAdv.