We did our best to stay away from this, but then respected New Orleans Times-Picayune writer Jim Kleinpeter had to go and throw some significant mainstream oomph behind the speculation.
Earlier Tuesday evening, SportsByBrooks.com reported that Arkansas has lobbed a bombshell of an offer at LSU head coach Les Miles: five years, $27.5 million to become the Razorbacks’ next head football coach. While most scoffed in the general direction of SBB’s report (guilty as charged), Kleinpeter followed it up a couple of hours later with a post that began “Miles has an offer from Arkansas for the head football coaching job.”
In that post, Kleinpeter went on to write that a source close to LSU confirmed that UA “made a serious offer” to Miles’ and/or his people and that “(LSU athletic director) Joe (Alleva) is meeting with (Miles’) agent and the discussion is ongoing.”
The reports indicating an offer from Arkansas to Miles can be viewed through at least a couple of prisms. One, Miles, through his agent, is leveraging LSU for a better deal by way of the media. In 2012, according to USA Today figures figures, Miles stands to make just under $3.9 million. Alabama’s Nick Saban, on the other hand, will make $5.476 million; coincidentally or not, the Arkansas number being bandied about would pay Miles an average of $5.5 million annually.
Secondly, the offer is very real and Miles has/is giving it serious consideration. The fact that Kleinpeter reports Miles’ agent is meeting with LSU’s AD lends credence to that facet of the speculation. Or, thirdly, it’s a combination of the two, with Arkansas going whole Hog on Miles and the Miles’ camp merely using it as leverage for yet another new & improved contract.
In January of 2011, Miles confirmed that he would be meeting with officials from his alma mater Michigan to discuss the vacancy created by Rich Rodriguez‘s firing. A day later, LSU confirmed Miles would be staying in Baton Rouge. A day after that, it was announced Miles had agreed to a contract extension that, while it didn’t include an increase in salary, included “enhanced opportunities” for additional compensation as well as well as a firing-without-cause clause that jumped from just over $11 million to just under $19 million.
Miles has yet to address the latest round of speculation connecting him to another job, and LSU would only tap dance around the talk surrounding their head coach.
“We’ve seen the tweet by Sports by Brooks [sic] and we’re not going to comment on rumors or bits of information,” LSU SID Michael Bonnette told the paper. “It has been brought to Les’ attention and he didn’t have anything to say.”
As far as whether or not Miles would actually seriously entertain, let alone actually accept, an offer from Arkansas, we’ll allow a member of the collegiate coaching community who knows Miles very well answer that question with another question.
“If [Miles] didn’t take the job [at Michigan] when it was right there in his lap, why would he take a step down to another job in his own conference?”