Last week word started spreading that LSU head coach Les Miles may be coaching for his job. That was after losing back-to-back games to Alabama and Arkansas. Well now he has lost three in a row after the Tigers were topped by Ole Miss last night, dropping the Tigers out of both major polls today. If you needed to throw another log on the fire that is warming Miles’ seat in Baton Rouge, here is one more piece of noteworthy information regarding his buyout. Even at $15 million, that price tag may not be high enough to discourage boosters from having their way with the position.
From James Smith of The Times-Picayune;
The $15 million-dollar buyout clause that is in Les Miles’ contract is what many perceive as one of the bigger hang-ups in making a move.
However, TAF, the athletic program’s booster club that funds a lot of the athletic programs for LSU, will not allow the buyout issue to thwart its plans, according to a high-ranking source.
According to the report, Miles has had discussions with LSU officials recently to discuss his future, and retirement at the end of the 2016 season has been discussed. That may not be soon enough for some boosters with the Tiger Athletic Foundation, which may be an indication this will get a bit uglier before too long.
So here’s the issue at play for LSU’s powers. If you feel the program is underachieving under Les Miles and his real-time decision-making is a hurdle, there is absolutely no reason not to move on and find a new coach to lead the program. If LSU is viewed internally as a national title caliber program, and Miles is not reaching that level of success, then being stuck in neutral while Alabama continues to rule the SEC West is not advisable. The question of whether or not you find a coach better than Miles is not what needs to be answered. It is what coach will give you the best chance to reach that next level. Maybe it is Miles. Maybe it is someone else. That’s what needs to be discussed and agreed upon before jumping the gun on buying out the contract Miles has in place.
So who are some of the names listed as potential targets for LSU? Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and TCU’s Gary Patterson have their name dropped in NOLA.com report. Fisher has won a BCS national title with Florida State and coached the Seminoles to a spot in the playoff last season. Having him in the same division as Alabama would be fun, as would having Swinney in the same division against Alabama. Neither is likely to happen, as both are in good situations where they currently reside as well. Never say never in coaching carousel season, but Patterson leaving TCU has been discussed year after year. He has everything he has worked to build sitting right there in Fort Worth with TCU, so leaving now may not be in the fold either. Just for good measure, good old Jon Gruden gets name dropped as a candidate as well, because why not?
Gruden’s not going to coach in college. If he ever returns to a sideline, it will be in the NFL.