<
>

Tigers introduce Saban's successor

1/4/2005 - LSU Tigers

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Les Miles was introduced as LSU's
football coach on Monday and said he wants to build on the work of
Nick Saban, who left the Tigers for the Miami Dolphins.


"The goal is to run the finest football program in the country
where our guys can have an experience that is second to none,"
Miles said.

The 51-year-old coach, who led Oklahoma State to three straight
bowl games, emerged as the top candidate Saturday after Louisville
coach Bobby Petrino withdrew from consideration.

The LSU job opened when Saban took the head coaching job with
the Dolphins on Dec. 25.

Tigers athletic director Skip Bertman declined to reveal details
of Miles' contract -- except to say that Miles would not be paid as
well as Saban.

"I'm not going to pay Saban money for a guy who hasn't earned
it," Bertman said.

Saban had the nation's richest college football contract, a
seven-year, $18.45 million deal he signed after winning a share of
the national title in 2003. The school is completing a stadium
expansion and a new football operations center.

Miles' contract still needs to be approved by the LSU Board of
Directors, which is scheduled to meet later this month.

Bertman did say there will be a buyout clause in the new contract.


Several reports have indicated that LSU might have to pay OSU a buyout of one year of Miles' salary -- $875,000 in 2004 before any bonuses.

When LSU offered Miles the job, Oklahoma State offered him a
raise, Bertman said.

"Miles stuck to his word and did not try to renegotiate with me," he said.

The school hoped to complete the search quickly to allow the new
coach to immediately get involved with recruiting. The process was
delayed because the most prominent candidates were in bowl games or
in the NFL.

Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt withdrew from consideration
on Thursday.

LSU hoped to interview Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del
Rio, but the parties involved were apparently unable to set up a
meeting.

Miles, 51, is 28-21 in four seasons with the Cowboys, who made just
one bowl appearance in the 12 seasons before he arrived. His
biggest wins came against the Cowboys' instate rival, Oklahoma, in
his first two seasons.

"Throughout the football community, Les Miles is
extraordinarily well respected," Bertman said.

On Wednesday, Oklahoma State lost 33-7 to Ohio State in the
Alamo Bowl.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.