LSU: Miles will remain with Tigers
BATON ROUGE, La. – Les Miles has decided to try to build on the success he’s already had at LSU rather than rebuild Michigan, the team for which he once played.
“I am pleased to announce that Les Miles will remain the head coach at LSU,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said shortly after being notified of the coach’s decision on Tuesday. “Les has led this program to many great successes on the field and his players represent LSU well off the field. We look forward to many great years of LSU football under his leadership.”
Former Colorado coach and Michigan assistant Bill McCartney, one of Miles’ coaching mentors, said he sent an e-mail to Miles on Monday imploring him to take the Michigan job.
“I wrote, ‘From one Michigan man to another, go build them back up,”‘ McCartney said Tuesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “I’m really disappointed he didn’t take the premier job in all of sports.”
McCartney, who took Miles with him from Michigan to Colorado in 1982, said it was “semantics” whether Miles was officially offered the job by athletic director Dave Brandon during their face-to-face meeting Monday in Baton Rouge.
“When you get on a plane with your wife to go talk to a guy like Dave Brandon did, you’re showing respect and you’re showing you’re very interested,” McCartney said. “I tried to tell Les to take the job, but obviously he didn’t and I can’t and won’t hide my disappointment.”
Miles chose to keep the great job he’s got at LSU in the Southern Eastern Conference, which has won the last five BCS championships – including one by Miles and the Tigers.
He has a 62-17 record and five bowl victories during six seasons with the Tigers, who are set up for more success next season.
On Monday, the coach met with Brandon, who flew to Baton Rouge on Monday to talk to him about the Wolverines’ open head coaching job.
Rich Rodriguez last week was fired as Michigan coach with a 15-22 mark in three seasons.
The meeting came just three days after LSU celebrated a 41-24 victory over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl that gave Miles his fourth season with at least 11 wins the Tigers.
Miles’ current LSU contract pays him $3.75 million per year, runs through 2014 and includes an annual one-year roll-over at the discretion of the athletic director that could extend the deal to 2015. The contract also would make him among the three highest paid college coaches should he win a second national title at LSU.
Although Alleva did not object to Miles meeting with his alma mater, he also said LSU was committed to working with Miles to ensure he remains in Baton Rouge. He did not go into details about what adjustments may in line for Miles’ contract.
Miles was traveling to Dallas on Tuesday for a previously scheduled speaking engagement at an American Football Coaches Association gathering.
Next season will be Miles’ seventh at LSU, where he has brought in one highly rated recruiting class after another. Now he’s reaffirmed his commitment to a program that is bound to be a favorite in the mighty SEC in 2011.
Last month, Miles signed coveted 6-foot-5, 230-pound junior college transfer quarterback Zach Mettenberger, a former top Georgia recruit who was dismissed by the Bulldogs because of legal trouble.
Mettenberger’s arrival is expected to provide a boost to LSU’s passing game, which was last in the SEC this season, and was perhaps the only thing holding the Tigers back in their two losses this season to Auburn and Arkansas.
Mettenberger will compete for snaps with rising senior Jordan Jefferson, who struggled for long stretches but is coming off an impressive performance in the Cotton Bowl in which he accounted for four touchdowns.
Before meeting with Michigan officials on Monday, Miles attended Patrick Peterson’s announcement concerning the star cornerback’s plans to enter the NFL draft. After Peterson’s announcement, Miles hinted he would not likely be going anywhere.
“The only thing I can tell you is, I spent my day today with a number of underclassmen that I want to return right here,” Miles said. “I am extremely happy here. There’s a real comfort with my family here in Baton Rouge.”
– AP sportswriter Larry Lage in Ann Arbor, Mich., contributed to this report.