Miles says he's coaching at LSU next season

Updated: December 2, 2007, 2:13 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

ATLANTA -- LSU coach Les Miles says he's not going anywhere.

"The decision to stay is based on how great the school is," Miles said Saturday after LSU beat No. 14 Tennessee 21-14 in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

"There's not many places in America as good as this one. I'm home."

That statement came hours after Miles, in a brief news conference at the Georgia Dome, strongly addressed an ESPN report that he was planning on leaving as LSU's football coach to take the same position at Michigan.

"I am the head coach at LSU. I will be the head coach at LSU," Miles said Saturday. "I have no interest in talking to anybody else."

LSU senior associate athletic director Herb Vincent said he later asked Miles whether the coach's statement applied to Michigan. Vincent said Miles told him it did.

Wearing a purple tie, standing and gesturing, Miles angrily made his announcement two hours before the Tigers (No. 7 BCS, No. 5 AP) defeated No. 14 Tennessee 21-14.

The ESPN report that said he was going to Michigan prompted Miles to speak to his players and the media.

"I've got a championship game to play, and I'm excited about the opportunity of my damn-strong football team to play," he said. "It's unfortunate that I had to address my team with that information this morning.

"I represent me in this issue, please ask me after. I'm busy," he said.

LSU chancellor Sean O'Keefe chuckled as Miles charged off the podium.

"What he said!" the chancellor said.

In an offseason that has seen several big moves, Miles did not want to jump on the coaching carousel.

LSU athletic director Skip Bertman said the school and Miles were in agreement.

"Coach Miles and the chancellor have already worked out a contract that they're happy with, but it hasn't been signed yet," Bertman said.

"Friday it was finished," Bertman said in a phone interview with the Detroit Free Press. "He met with the chancellor and finished this one Friday. We still don't have the papers and the agreement. Everybody's happy, we're especially happy. He never wanted to go to Michigan. He was called by the chancellor of the university who said, 'Les, please don't go.' "

The LSU official sports Web site stated in a release: "Terms and conditions of the contract have been agreed upon and will be presented at the next meeting of the LSU Board of Supervisors on Dec. 6. Miles will not entertain any offer from the University of Michigan to become the Wolverines head coach or from any other institution."

All week, speculation swirled that Miles would leave LSU and return to Michigan, where he played and coached. The Wolverines' job became vacant when Lloyd Carr announced his retirement.

Miles was questioned about Michigan during his news conference Friday at the Georgia Dome. He had said he planned to talk to Wolverines officials after the SEC title game.

After the victory, Miles said he never spoke to Michigan and didn't plan to.

"I will always root for the next head coach there," Miles said. "I will wear those colors when it comes down to the Ohio-Michigan game. I'm going to root and pull for the Blue, and they will eventually win that game."

"There's a proud tradition, and they have to do the things they have to do. I'm for them, and if there's any way I can help them, I'd love to help them. But I'm not going there. It saddens me at times. I can't be at two places. I've got a great place. I'm home."

Many expected Miles to return to Michigan, where he played and coached for the late Bo Schembechler and met his wife, long before Carr announced this year's bowl game would end his 13-year career as head coach.

LSU saw the possibility coming, too.

The school 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.

On Saturday morning, ESPN reported that, barring unforeseen circumstances, Miles would be named Michigan coach next week and that Georgia Tech defensive coordinator/interim head coach Jon Tenuta would go with him.

Vincent said Saturday morning the report that Miles had accepted the Michigan job was "inaccurate."

Tenuta told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after Saturday's practice that he was surprised to hear his name associated with other schools.

Tenuta said, "I can't help what's been reported. I'm caught flat-footed, myself. I'm sitting here, my mind's racing going, 'Whatever.'"

Tenuta, with no job security during the coach search, said he has to remain open to opportunities.

Tenuta said, "Obviously in the situation I'm in right now, and you've got a lot of friends in coaching, you know, you talk to a lot of guys, you've got to listen to a lot of things."

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 in 2002. He also coached the tight ends for the Dallas Cowboys between 1998 and 2000.

Saban set a new standard for the Tigers when he led them to a national championship, putting Miles 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 is 11-2 this season after winning the SEC championship game.

Miles has been head coach at LSU since 2005. LSU is 33-6 with Miles at the helm, including 22 wins in his first 26 games as coach, and won 11 games in 2005 and 2006. The Tigers' two losses this season both came in triple overtime.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.