LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles' job is apparently safer than advertised. After a 19-7 LSU victory over the Texas A&M Aggies on Nov. 28, Tigers athletic director Joe Alleva emphasized that Miles would remain in his current position.
"Les Miles is our football coach, and he will continue to be our football coach," Alleva said, per ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy. Lyons Yellin of WWL-TV posted video footage of Alleva's announcement:
Per the Advocate's Ross Dellenger, Miles said he found out after the game that he'd continue coaching the Tigers. On Thursday, F. King Alexander, LSU's president, spoke on the decision to retain Miles, courtesy of Stephanie Riegel of the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report:
Alexander confirms reports that the final decision on Miles’ future did not come until after a halftime meeting during the Nov. 29 game against Texas A&M, though he says the decision had “pretty much been made” a few days earlier. Among those in the halftime meeting were Alexander, Athletic Director Joe Alleva, and several members of the LSU Board of Supervisors.
“It was a combination of factors and a decision that we made collectively,” Alexander says. “We weighed all the factors in all this and it was a joint decision between many of our board members, our AD and many of us decided this was the wrong time and wrong place (to replace Miles.)”
Alexander acknowledges that concerns over the exorbitant cost of buying out Miles’ contract—$15 million plus an additional $2 million for his coaching staff—and hiring a new coach factored heavily into the decision, though he says money was not the only determinant.
Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports likened the bizarre situation surrounding Miles to the rogue coaching tactics that brought him the Mad Hatter nickname:
On Nov. 28, ESPN.com's Joe Schad added further context to LSU's decision:
Once his future was legitimately at stake, those who were deciding Miles' fate saw a change in him that inspired them to have a change of heart:
Schad had recently reported there was a "very good possibility" LSU would buy out Miles' contract and that his tenure in Baton Rouge would be over. Jim Kleinpeter of NOLA.com had reported before Saturday's contest that Miles told the Tiger Gridiron Club he'd be coaching his final game.
Danny Kanell of ESPN was critical of LSU's apparent flip-flop on Miles' future:
Miles took the helm in 2005. He has never had a losing season with the Tigers and has had the team ranked inside the Top 10 of the Associated Press poll at some point every year.
LSU was in College Football Playoff contention for much of 2015 and finished the regular season with an 8-3 record. Miles guided the Tigers to a national championship after the 2007 campaign, so he has quite a resume of success.
The SEC is perceived as the toughest conference in the country, which explains why a coach carrying Miles' clout could conceivably be on the hot seat.
With star running back Leonard Fournette in the fold for 2016 and an incoming recruiting class that 247Sports ranks No. 2 in the nation, though, it's logical for the Tigers to keep the beloved Miles around.
Note: Coaching record courtesy of Sports-Reference.com.