LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - First-year McNeese head coach Frank Wilson has hit the ground running with the Cowboys as the program has landed multiple high-profile transfer athletes since he took over in January. The Pokes have since been ranked fifth in the Southland Conference preseason poll and will enter 2020 with plenty of confidence.
Wilson revealed to 7Sports that before accepting the job in Lake Charles, he considered heading back to a place he coached for six seasons— LSU.
“There were conversations about me going back to Baton Rouge.”
The Tigers were fresh off a national title and were set to have openings at running backs coach and recruiting coordinator - positions he held previously on Les Miles’ staff - with the assumed departure of Tommie Robinson.
The fit made sense on paper with Wilson’s background and previous relationship with LSU coach Ed Orgeron. Wilson admitted Wednesday at Southland Conference Media day that he was Orgeron’s first hire at Ole Miss in 2005. Wilson served as the running backs and special teams coach for the Rebels for three seasons under Orgeron.
Despite the great relationship between the coaches, Wilson said the pair didn’t talk much after he started to have an interest in the McNeese head coaching job.
“I kind of went quiet for a while with Coach [Orgeron]. Coach and I go way back to me playing and being a [graduate assistant] at Nicholls State. I have known Coach Orgeron since 1993,” said Wilson. “I wasn’t committal to going back to Baton Rouge because I knew there were other things I wanted to pursue and I didn’t necessarily want to share that with the world.”
Wilson knew he still had plenty to prove at the head coaching level and eventually became the Cowboys’ coach. With the new role, it would link Wilson and Orgeron up again but in a different fashion.
Orgeron’s son, Cody Orgeron, is the starting quarterback for McNeese.
“I didn’t initially get to talk to him about the potential of Cody and me or me going to McNeese because he just wanted me to be a Tiger. If you know Coach O, that’s all that mattered to him,” laughed Wilson. “It wasn’t until I accepted the job that I reached out to him and he was wonderful.”
Since starting with the Pokes, Wilson said he and Coach O have reconnected.
“He certainly knew a couple of days before because as a phenomenal enterprise, [McNeese] did a background check and they did theirs on me all the way back and of course knew our relationship. Our president and search committee reached out to him,” said Wilson. “When I finally called him he said I was a perfect fit and it was going to be great. The kids are excited and I’m excited and I shared the same sentiments to him with this opportunity.