As expected, and in the end, it was much ado about nothing… nothing but money, that is.
Yesterday evening, at least two reports surfaced that Arkansas had made a significant contractual offer to Les Miles to become the Razorbacks’ next head coach. It was assumed by most that either it was a desperation move on the part of UA or a leverage move by Miles’ agent in an effort to get his client a new contract.
Regardless of what the reality is or was, the latter turned out to be the result of the speculation.
In a statement released through the university, athletic director Joe Alleva confirmed that, as in the past, Miles would indeed be staying in Baton Rouge and would remain on as the Bayou Bengals’ head coach.
“Les Miles is one of the premier coaches in the country and has LSU in contention for championships year in and year out,” Alleva’s statement read. “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. Les Miles has made a commitment to LSU and LSU is solidifying its commitment to Les Miles.”
The commitment on the part of the university will come in the form of a tweaked contract that will include both an extension (seven years) and a raise of an unspecified amount. The new deal, which is currently in the process of being negotiated, is expected to be finalized following LSU’s bowl appearance this season.
Somewhat unbelievably, Miles has not received a raise, as the school itself noted in the release, “since his salary was automatically elevated following our national championship in 2007.” Miles is hardly a pauper, though, as he earned just under $3.9 million in 2012, a figure that makes him the second-highest paid head coach in the SEC behind Nick Saban‘s $5.5 million.
Alleva acknowledged that the speculation expedited matters on the contract front between the university and the coach.
“Our intent was to address his contract following this year’s bowl game, but 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.”
Miles did acknowledge in a subsequent press conference that he did engage in very preliminary discussions with UA, saying that he is very good friends with that school’s athletic director, Jeff Long. The coach declined to say which side initiated the conversations.
Miles did deny, though, that there was a five-year, $27.5 million offer on the table from Arkansas.