December 1, 2007

Miles speaks: LSU coach not going anywhere

ATLANTA LSU coach Les Miles held an impromptu news conference two hours before the scheduled start of Saturday's SEC Championship Game to refute rumors of his impending departure.

"I am the head coach at LSU," Miles said. "I will be the head coach at LSU."

ESPN reported Saturday morning that Miles was on the verge of accepting the coaching position at Michigan, where he played and served as an assistant coach. But later in the day, ESPN issued another report in which LSU athletic director Skip Bertman said Miles had reached an agreement to stay at LSU.

Miles called it "unfortunate" that he had to address his players about an initial report he termed as "misinformation." Miles emphasized that he had no interest in other positions.

Here is the entire text of Miles' statement.

"There was misinformation on ESPN. I found it imperative that I straighten it out. I am the head coach at LSU. I will be the head coach at LSU. I have no interest in talking to anybody else. I've got a championship game to play, and I'm excited about the opportunity of my damn strong football team to play in it. That's really all I've got to say. It was unfortunate that I had to address my team with this information this morning. With that being done, I think we'll be ready to play. There will be no questions for me. I represent me in this issue. Please ask me after (the game)."

LSU put a specific clause in his contract on July 1, 2006, that made it expensive for Miles to go back to Ann Arbor.

In the "termination by coach" section of his deal, Michigan is the only school mentioned. It stated that Miles will not seek or accept employment as Michigan's coach and that he would pay LSU $1.25 million if he left to lead the Wolverines.

LSU hired Miles away from Oklahoma State after Nick Saban departed in 2005 to coach the Miami Dolphins.

Miles was in a position to land the coveted job after turning around Oklahoma State's program, earning three straight bowl bids after the school went 12 years without a postseason appearance. He was 28-21 in four years with the Cowboys and was the Big 12 Coach of the Year honors in 2002.

Saban set a new standard for the Tigers when he led them to a national championship, putting Miles was under instant pressure to win big.

Fortunately for Miles, Saban also left behind a roster loaded with talent, including four players that were taken in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft.

Miles went 11-2 during each of his first two seasons, finishing his first campaign with a lopsided Peach Bowl victory over Miami and his second with a blowout against Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

LSU was 10-2 going into the SEC championship game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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