Ed Orgeron received a surprise phone call Monday, and at first, he was confused by who it was.
The LSU head coach had just returned from Atlanta after the Tigers' 63-28 win over Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl semifinal, the victory that has sent LSU to its first national championship game since 2011.
One of Orgeron's support staffers, Ya'el Lofton, told him, "The President's office is calling."
Orgeron stopped: The president of the university?
"No," Lofton said. "The White House."
Orgeron reached for the phone and said, "OK, here we go."
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The White House does not typically release transcripts of the president's phone calls and didn't provide a standard read out of President Donald Trump's call with Orgeron. A White House spokesman didn't respond to multiple requests for more details about the call.
Orgeron detailed the conversation during the College Football Playoff's national championship game teleconference on Tuesday morning.
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"I was very honored to get a call from President Trump," Orgeron said. "He was very pleasant to talk to. Very complimentary of our football team, our coaching staff. Complimentary of the way the state of Louisiana has rallied around us. Was complimentary of the way we played all year and wished us good luck in the game."
Orgeron is no stranger to politics. He has developed a friendship with Gov. John Bel Edwards. The two Louisiana natives struck a friendship shortly after Orgeron was hired full-time after the 2016 season, when a mutual friend connected them at a duck-hunting camp in South Lafourche.
In February, Orgeron introduced Edwards as the keynote speaker at the Louisiana Statewide Business Summit in Baton Rouge. Edwards hosted LSU's freshmen football players at the Governor's mansion in June and spoke to the team ahead of their game against Alabama.
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Trump traveled to Louisiana ahead of the Alabama game to rally for Edwards' opponent in the gubernatorial election, Eddie Rispone, and Trump attended LSU's 46-41 win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Orgeron said leading up to the Alabama game that he hoped Trump wouldn't pick sides in the game.
"Well, I think a president needs to be neutral," Orgeron said then. "If he wants to cheer for LSU, (I'll) welcome his cheering. But obviously I don't think the president should be cheering for either team. I think he should be right down the middle."
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During an appearance on Acadiana conservative radio host Moon Griffon's show on Nov. 6, Trump inquired about LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.
"Is your quarterback as good as they say?" Trump asked Griffon.
"Regardless of political views, that’s pretty cool having the president at the game," Burrow said then. "It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, (having) the president at the game is pretty cool."
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Advocate Washington Correspondent Elizabeth Crisp contributed to this report