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November 28, 2012
Just 24 hours earlier, word spread that Arkansas had reportedly offered Les Miles a five-year contract worth more than $27 million to be its head football coach.
On Wednesday afternoon, Director of Athletics Joe Alleva was announcing that Miles was being given a new seven-year contract to remain as LSU's head coach. Reportedly, Miles will be making about $4.3 million per year. Miles had five years at about $3.8 million per year left on his old contract.
"It is not all about winning championships," Alleva said. "It's about being in the hunt to win championships. Les Miles is one of the premier coaches in the country. He has LSU in contention for championships year in and year out.
"The coaching business is a competitive one and it is important to compensate our coach for his accomplishments. (Miles) has continued to keep LSU on the national stage. Coach made a commitment to LSU and LSU made a commitment to coach."
Miles acknowledged Wednesday that he had discussions with Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long, who worked with him at Michigan. According to Miles, the talks never got to the serious stage.
"I have great respect for their AD, a college friend of mine," Miles said. "Our conversations were very preliminary. The five years and $27 million (offer) is not true. I didn't speak to (Dallas Cowboys owner and Arkansas graduate) Jerry Jones. I gave (Long) some potential candidates.
"This Miles family is awfully comfortable in southern Louisiana. Home is what we call this place. Sitting in front of these men is pretty important to me. It's not very likely I'd leave. I'm a LSU head coach and I will be a LSU head coach for as long as I can be."
Miles' main emphasis for the next two weeks will be recruiting. The Tigers will resume practice for their bowl game after fall semester exams end Dec. 8. LSU will find out Sunday its bowl destination. The Cotton Bowl and Chick-fil-A Bowl are the two leaders for the Tigers.
"We have two weeks of rehab and we'll start practice after finals," Miles said. "We look forward to playing in a quality bowl game. We should add two starters (linebacker Kwon Alexander and guard Josh Williford). We should be healthy. I expect us to play better in the bowl game than we have all year."
Regular-season losses to Florida and Alabama prevented the Tigers from repeating as Southeastern Conference champions. Florida and the winner of the Alabama-Georgia SEC title game will find themselves in the Sugar Bowl and the national title game, respectively.
LSU will be one of four SEC teams with at least ten victories and relegated to a non-BCS bowl. The other two-loss teams are the Alabama-Georgia loser, Texas A&M and South Carolina.
"I never would take 10-2 as final (record)," Miles said. "As the year played out, I think this team improved. Three games into it, the team changed numbers. We had key players not there. We had the absence of seven starters and 14 players who would have been contributors.
"Guys stepped in and played big. We saw freshmen evolve this year and that was pretty special. Our team wants to play for the national championship and be in that game. With the injuries and attrition we had, this team accomplished a lot."
After losing to Alabama, the Tigers won their final three games - against Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Arkansas. Five of LSU's six SEC victories came by a margin of seven points or less. Miles would not consider this year a disappointment due to the preseason expectations.
"I look at things differently," Miles said. "We were a ten-win team. There was an infusion of freshmen and first-time players. These guys fought like hell and they fought adversity."
According to Miles, running back Alfred Blue will not participate in the bowl game. He had no information on the status of tight end Nic Jacobs, who has been suspended for a reported violation of the athletic department's substance abuse policy. Miles also said that he anticipates no staff changes.