Miles gets contract extension
Les Miles has a new seven-year contract at LSU that also will result in a pay raise for one of the most successful coaches in the history of the Tigers’ football program.
“I’m a LSU head coach and will be a LSU head coach for as long as I can be,” Miles said Wednesday. “Hopefully, we’ll look up seven years from now and I’ll be looking for another seven-year extension.”
The new contract runs through 2019, which amounts to a two-year extension. LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said financial details were still being worked out and will be released after LSU plays in a still-undecided bowl game to close out this season.
A person familiar with the contract said that Miles’ new annual pay would be in the range of $4.3 million. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because financial details of Miles’ deal were not released.
Miles’ previous contract paid about $3.75 million annually through 2017. He has not received a raise since 2008, after LSU’s last national title, though he has since received an extension and raises for assistants.
“It is not all about winning championships,” Alleva said. “It’s about being in the hunt to win championships. “Les Miles is one of the premier coaches in the country and has LSU in contention for championships year in and year out. Only two coaches in the 119-year history of LSU football have coached as many years at this school and only one has won more games.”
Miles has an 85-20 record since arriving at LSU in 2005 with two Southeastern Conference titles, the one national title and two BCS championship game appearances. Only Charles McClendon won more games as Tigers coach (137). The victory over Arkansas last Friday clinched Miles’ fifth 10-win season at LSU.
“The coaching business is a competitive one and it is important to compensate our coach for his accomplishments and his worth,” Alleva said. “(Miles) has continued to keep LSU on the national stage. Coach made a commitment to LSU and LSU made a commitment to coach.”
Miles said Arkansas representatives reached out to him in a preliminary way, but he also said reports of a five-year, $27.5 million offer to take over the Razorbacks program were “not true.”
“I have great respect for the AD (Jeff Long), a college friend of mine,” Miles said. “My talks were very preliminary. They fell far short of being serious. I can tell you that this Miles family is awfully comfortable in southern Louisiana. I think home is what we call this place.”
Alleva said LSU already planned to offer Miles an enhanced contract after this season, but decided to close the deal now to snuff out speculation that Miles could be lured elsewhere.
“Speculation about other job opportunities accelerated our process a little,” Alleva said. “I think we have accomplished the important step of securing Les Miles as our head coach for the long-term good of the program.”
In the short-term, Miles has given his team two weeks off.
The Tigers will find out their bowl destination Sunday with the Capital One Bowl, the Cotton Bowl and the Chick-fil-A Bowl being the leaders. LSU will begin bowl practice after fall exams end Dec. 8.
“We look forward to playing in a quality bowl game,” Miles said. “We should add two starters (linebacker Kwon Alexander and guard Josh Williford). We should be healthy. I think we’ll fill the bowl arena. There is speculation as to which bowl. I know LSU will be in attendance and that will be enough.”
LSU’s 21-17 loss to Alabama, for all practical purposes, ended its opportunity to repeat as SEC champion. With a loss at Florida, the Tigers finished with a 10-2 record. LSU posted that mark even though six projected starters missed all or most of the season.
“I would never take 10-2 as a final” record, Miles said. “But, as this year played out, I think this team improved. Three games into (the season), the team changed numbers. We had key players not there. Guys stepped in and played big. This team fought like hell and fought adversity.”
-- BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer