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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Les Miles staying at LSU

By Gary Laney
GeauxTigerNation

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Les Miles received a new seven-year contract and a pay raise Wednesday from LSU, ending speculation that one of the most successful coaches in the school's history might leave for rival Arkansas.

Miles' new deal runs through 2019 and amounts to a two-year extension. LSU athletic director Joe Alleva would not comment on the financial terms of Miles' raise, the first to his base salary since 2007.

"Les Miles is one of the premier coaches in the country and has LSU in contention for championships year in and year out," Alleva said.

Alleva claimed LSU planned on giving Miles the extension and raise after the Tigers' bowl game. But talks were expedited when reports surfaced Tuesday that Miles was entertaining an offer from Arkansas.

"It's been my plan all along to give (Miles) a raise and an extension, and that's what we're doing," Alleva said. "You can talk all you want about winning championships. It's really not always about winning championships. It's about being in the hunt to win championships, and (Miles) has shown that he's consistently in the hunt to win championships."

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Tuesday that Miles received a five-year, $27.5 million offer from Arkansas, which has been looking to fill its coaching vacancy since firing John L. Smith on Saturday.

Miles confirmed that he spoke to Arkansas athletic Jeff Long about the job but described the talks as "very preliminary" and claimed that report of the lucrative financial offer "was not true."

Miles is 85-20 since arriving at LSU in 2005, with one national title during the 2007 season and two BCS championship appearances. LSU's victory over Arkansas last Friday clinched Miles' fifth 10-win season with the Tigers.

"I can tell you I very much respect those Razorbacks and how they played in that last game," Miles said. "But I'm an LSU head coach and I'll be an LSU head coach for as long as I can be."

Miles has enjoyed plenty of success in Baton Rouge, overseeing LSU's best eight-year stretch in school history. The Tigers have four top-five finishes and two SEC championships during his tenure.

Miles, who has declined multiple chances to leave LSU in the past several years, said his job "compares favorably" to any in college football.

"I can tell you that this Miles family is awfully comfortable in southern Louisiana," Miles said. "I think home is what we'd call this place."

Miles said the talks with Arkansas were "sincere" but "fell short of major, major interest." He said he recommended candidates for the job to Long.

Miles also claimed that he did not speak to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, a major Arkansas booster and Miles' former boss when he was an assistant coach with the Cowboys.

The Tigers will find out their bowl destination Sunday, with the Capital One Bowl, the Cotton Bowl and the Chick-fil-A Bowl being the leaders. LSU will begin bowl practice after fall exams end Dec. 8.

"We look forward to playing in a quality bowl game," Miles said. "We should add two starters (linebacker Kwon Alexander and guard Josh Williford). We should be healthy. I think we'll fill the bowl arena. There is speculation as to which bowl. I know LSU will be in attendance and that will be enough."

LSU's 21-17 loss to Alabama, for all practical purposes, ended its opportunity to repeat as SEC champion. With a loss at Florida, the Tigers finished with a 10-2 record. LSU posted that mark even though six projected starters missed all or most of the season.

"I would never take 10-2 as a final" record, Miles said. "But, as this year played out, I think this team improved. Three games into (the season), the team changed numbers. We had key players not there. Guys stepped in and played big. This team fought like hell and fought adversity."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.