LSU: Derek Shay

LSU hires former McNeese State tight ends coach Derek Shay as graduate assistant.

LSU is expected to hire former McNeese State tight ends coach Derek Shay to coach the same position in a graduate assistant role, multiple sources told The Advocate Friday.

Shay will be replacing John Decoster, who left LSU just after the Tigers' national championship to be a full-time tight ends coach at Old Dominion. Decoster focused on tight ends in Baton Rouge, and LSU coach Ed Orgeron credited him for landing the nation's top tight end recruit, five-star Arik Gilbert.

The 6-foot-6, 245-pound Gilbert was the Gatorade National Player of the Year and recorded 1,760 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior at Marietta High in Georgia.

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The 29-year-old Shay spent one coaching tight ends in Lake Charles under former McNeese coach Sterlin Gilbert, who left in January to become the offensive coordinator at Syracuse.

McNeese ranked 59th in the FCS division in total offense (385 yards per game), 65th in scoring offense (26.1 points per game) and tight ends Louis Conerly and Jacob Logan combined for four catches, 36 yards and a touchdown reception.

Orgeron's son, Cody, was the starting quarterback at McNeese in 2019.

Shay's coaching roots are tied to Gilbert and Syracuse head coach Dino Babers.

He began his collegiate coaching career in 2012 at his alma mater, Eastern Illinois. Shay coached offensive line and tight ends for two seasons under Gilbert, who was the offensive coordinator, and Shay left with Gilbert to coach tight ends on Babers' coaching staff at Bowling Green in 2014.

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Before Shay rejoined Gilbert at McNeese in 2019, he spent four seasons at the high school level. He spent two seasons as the offensive line coach at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and he was the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Warren Central High in Indianapolis and served as the offensive line coach for USA Football's U17 National Development Team.

Shay began his coaching career at the high school level, spending a season each as an assistant coach at Cerro Gordo High (2010) and Marshall High (2011) in Illinois.

Shay, a Cerro Gordo High graduate, played one season as an offensive lineman for Eastern Illinois in 2009, before he transferred to Eastern Illinois and finished college.

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The tight ends coach hasn't been a full-time position on LSU's 11-man coaching staff since 2017, when Steve Ensminger coached the position before he was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2018.

Orgeron replaced the full-time tight ends coaching position with a passing-game coordinator, Jerry Sullivan, who coached in that role in 2018 before retiring after one season.

Passing-game coordinator became a quasi-co-offensive coordinator with Joe Brady in 2019, when the Broyles Award-winning assistant helped build LSU's record-breaking offense in tandem with Ensminger. Orgeron then hired former Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan with a two-year, $800,000 per year contract to replace Brady, who is now the offensive coordinator with the Carolina Panthers.

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Email Brooks Kubena at bkubena@theadvocate.com.