Edwards and Orgeron

LSU coach Ed Orgeron and Gov. John Bel Edwards in their getagameplan.org PSA.

LSU football remains big enough in Louisiana, that when its head coach, Ed Orgeron, gets a two-year contract extension and a raise to $4 million, the news reaches all the way to the state capitol.

During his monthly radio call-in show Wednesday afternoon, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards was asked to weigh in about Orgeron's new contract, which was approved that morning by the LSU Board of Supervisors.

The caller asked Edwards what kind of priorities are displayed when a college football coach is paid so much.

"It's the way things are," Edwards said, while noting most of Orgeron's contract is paid within the LSU athletic budget, not taxpayer dollars, "and quite frankly, there are other schools, in the Southeastern Conference especially, that pay more."

Orgeron's new contract is tied for 24th nationally with Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente, according to USA Today, and Orgeron's salary ranks eighth out of the 14 programs in the SEC.

LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said Wednesday morning, while presenting Orgeron's contract proposal to the board, that a $4 million contract ranking eighth in the SEC was "amazing."

Edwards added that LSU was getting Orgeron at "a bargain" at $4 million per year, saying that the third-year head coach has exceeded expectations.

Orgeron is 25-9 since taking over LSU as the interim coach, four games into the 2016 season. He first signed a five-year deal at the end of the 2016 season when he was hired to replace former coach Les Miles, who was fired after a 2-2 start.

It isn't uncommon for Edwards to publicly comment about LSU football or Orgeron.

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. 

Orgeron was even a guest speaker for Edwards, introducing the governor at February's Louisiana Statewide Business Summit in Baton Rouge.

"I'm happy for Coach O and for (his wife) Kelly," Edwards said Wednesday. "His enthusiasm for all things LSU is apparent and it's also contagious." 

Advocate reporter Elizabeth Crisp contributed to this report