Pete Jenkins, considered by many to be the most respected coach when it comes to defensive line play, is in his third stint and 15th year overall on the LSU coaching staff. Jenkins, the longtime mentor to LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, re-joined the Tigers out of retirement in September of 2016 when Orgeron was elevated to head coach.
Jenkins previously coached at LSU for 11 years from 1980-90 and then for two years from 2000-01, helping the Tigers win three Southeastern Conference titles over that span. Jenkins has helped lead the Tigers to nine bowl appearances during his career.
In his first year back at LSU in 2016, Jenkins played a key role in Arden Key breaking the school’s single-season sack record with 12. Jenkins coached Key to All-SEC honors while defensive tackle Davon Godchaux was picked in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Jenkins, long considered the top defensive line coach in football – college or professional – has coached dozens of players to all-conference and All-America honors. He’s also sent over 30 players that he’s coached to the NFL, including former Tigers Leonard Marshall, Henry Thomas, Roland Barbay, Jarvis Green and Marcus Spears.
Jenkins originally joined the LSU staff in 1980 under head coach Jerry Stovall. Jenkins remained LSU’s defensive line coach from 1980-90. He was elevated to defensive coordinator for head coach Mike Archer in 1987 and then to assistant head coach in 1990.
After departing LSU following the 1990 season, Jenkins spent five years coaching the defensive line at Mississippi State, helping the Bulldogs to three bowl games during that span. Jenkins the moved to Auburn for three years from 1996-98 where the Tigers reached two bowl games and won 10 games and tied for the SEC Western Division title in 1997.
Jenkins returned to LSU in 2000, serving as the defensive line coach for two years. LSU won its first SEC title in 15 years in 2001, beating Tennessee in the SEC Championship. The Tigers followed that with a victory over Illinois in the Sugar Bowl.
Jenkins retired from college football for the first time following the 2001 season, but still served as a coach to many NFL and college-bound players during the offseason. Jenkins returned to coaching in 2007 when he joined the Philadelphia Eagles as defensive line coach. Jenkins served on the Eagles staff for three seasons where he helped Philadelphia reached the NFC Championship Game in 2008 followed by an NFL Wildcard Game appearance the following year.
Jenkins stepped away from coaching in 2010, only to return as part of Orgeron’s staff at Southern Cal in 2013. Orgeron was promoted to head coach at Southern Cal in late September of 2013 and brought Jenkins to Los Angeles to serve on his staff. Jenkins helped Orgeron and the Trojans go 6-2 over the final eight games of the regular season.
Jenkins has coached in 14 bowl games and been part of two NFL playoff teams. He’s spent a total of 22 seasons in the SEC and three in the NFL.
Jenkins is also the veteran of 12 bowl games, including seven at LSU: 1983 Orange, 1985 and 1987 Sugar, 1985 Liberty, 1987 Gator, 1989 Hall of Fame and 2000 Peach Bowl. He went to three bowl games while at Mississippi State (1991 Liberty, 1993 and 1995 Peach) and two at Auburn (1996 Independence, 1998 Peach).
A 1964 graduate of Western Carolina, Jenkins played there for two years before starting his coaching career at Warner-Robbins High School in Georgia as an assistant coach. His career took him to two more high schools before he joined Troy State’s staff in 1968 when Troy won the NAIA national championship. He coached at North Alabama, South Carolina, Southern Mississippi, Oklahoma State and Florida before settling in at LSU in 1980.
A native of Macon, Ga., Jenkins graduated from Western Carolina in 1964. He and his wife, Donna, have two children, Jennifer and Jeff.
The Jenkins File
Year at LSU: 15th
Birthdate: August 27, 1941, at Macon, Georgia
Wife: former Donna Reece
Children: Jennifer and Jeff
High School: Hawkins High School (Macon, Georgia)
College: Western Carolina ’64
1964-65, Warner-Robbins (Ga.) High School (assistant coach)
1965-67, Columbus (Ga.) Baker High School (assistant coach)
1967-68, Phoenix City (Ala.) High School (head coach)
1968-70, Troy State (defensive coordinator)
1971-72, North Alabama (defensive coordinator)
1973-74, South Carolina (defensive ends)
1975-77, Southern Mississippi (defensive coordinator)
1978, Oklahoma State (defensive line)
1979, Florida (defensive line)
1980-90, LSU (defensive line 1980-90; defensive coordinator 1982, 1987-89;
assistant head coach 1980-84, 1990)
1991-95, Mississippi State (defensive line)
1996-98, Auburn (defensive line)
2000-01, LSU (defensive line)
2007-09, Philadelphia Eagles (defensive line)
2013, Southern Cal (defensive line)
2016-17, LSU (defensive line)
Season, Bowl, Team, Opponent, Results
1982, Orange, LSU, Nebraska, L, 21-20
1984, Sugar, LSU, Nebraska, L, 28-10
1985, Liberty, LSU, Baylor, L, 21-7
1986, Sugar, LSU, Nebraska, L, 30-15
1987, Gator, LSU, South Carolina, W, 30-13
1988, Hall of Fame, LSU, Syracuse, L, 23-10
1991, Liberty, Mississippi State, Air Force, L, 38-15,
1993, Peach, Mississippi State, North Carolina, L, 21-17
1995, Peach, Mississippi State, NC State, L, 28-24
1996, Independence, Auburn, Army, W, 32-29
1998, Peach, Auburn, Clemson, W, 21-17
2000, Peach, LSU, Georgia Tech, W, 28-14
2001, Sugar, LSU, Illinois, W, 47-34
2016, Citrus, LSU, Louisville, W, 29-9