Les Miles shuns Michigan, has agreement to stay at LSU
December 1, 2007
Editor's note: Story updated at 4:04 p.m.
Les Miles will not be Michigan's next coach after all.
Miles said at a news conference this afternoon in Atlanta, two hours before the SEC championship game, that he would remain at Louisiana State.
LSU athletic director Skip Bertman confirmed that Miles had agreed to a new contract.
“There’s misinformation on ESPN and I think it’s imperative that I straighten it out. I’m the head coach at LSU, I will be the head coach at LSU and I have no interest in talking to anybody else,” Miles said at the Georgia Dome, where his Tigers where to play Tennessee. “I've got a championship game to play and I'm excited about the opportunity of my damn strong football team to play.
“I’ve got a championship game to play and I’m excited about the opportunity of my damn strong football team to play. That’s really all I‘d like to say. It’s unfortunate that I had to address my team with this information this morning. With that being done, I think we we’ll be ready to play.”
He began the news conference by admonishing ESPN, which reported this morning that Miles, barring something unforeseen, would be announced as the Michigan coach sometime next week. Miles implied that was the reason for the hastily called news conference.
Miles did not take questions and said he would address more after the game.
Bertman said Miles reached a verbal contract agreement with LSU officials.
“Friday it was finished,” Bertman said in a phone interview this afternoon. “He met with the chancellor and finished this one Friday. We still don't have the papers and the agreement. Everybody's happy, we're especially happy. He never wanted to go to Michigan. He was called by the chancellor of the university who said, 'Les, please don't go.'.”
The LSU official sports Web site stated in a release: “Terms and conditions of the contract have been agreed upon and will be presented at the next meeting of the LSU Board of Supervisors on Dec. 6. Miles will not entertain any offer from the University of Michigan to become the Wolverines head coach or from any other institution.”
Miles' representatives and Michigan have had significant job talks for an extended period of time, so much so that Free Press reported today that he was considered the clear top candidate to replace Lloyd Carr. Discussions with Miles had progressed as far as salary and talk of staff members, the Free Press had learned from multiple people with knowledge of the situation.
Bertman, though, had promised Wednesday that the school would make Miles a substantial contract offer to remain in Baton Rouge, La.
Miles and athletic director Bill Martin, granted permission from LSU to talk with Miles, were expected to meet early next week.
Before that meeting could take place, LSU apparently presented an offer that Miles could not refuse and that U-M could not or declined to match.
How close were Miles and U-M?
Before Miles' announcement, ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit reported on espn.com that not only Michigan would announce that Miles would accept its job but that Georgia Tech defensive coordinator and interim head coach Jon Tenuta would go with him.
Martin has avoided media inquiries during the coaching search.
Miles, 54, was a former U-M player and coach under Bo Schembecher.
Miles' salary at LSU has been $1.8 million, but his contract called for an automatic raise because the Tigers won 10 games this season. Fifth-ranked LSU (10-2) plays No..14 Tennessee (9-3) in Atlanta this afternoon for the SEC championship.
Carr made $1.5 million in his final season at U-M. He announced Nov..19 that he would retire after Michigan's bowl, which will be the Dec. 28 Champs Sports or the Jan. 1 Capital One. Both bowls are played in Orlando.Stay tuned to freep.com for more updates.