Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Reports: Miles offered UA job
NWA Media/ANDY SHUPE Louisiana State coach Les Miles gestures to his coaches Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, during the second quarter of play against Arkansas at Razorback Stadium.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas’ search for its next head football coach took a strange turn Tuesday.
The Web site sportsbybrooks.com reported Tuesday afternoon via Twitter that Arkansas officials were engaged in contract talks with representatives of LSU Coach Les Miles. The post also said that a five-year, $27.5 million offer was on the table.
A source familiar with the Arkansas search said no offer existed between Arkansas and Miles, but late Tuesday evening the Times-Picayune of New Orleans and WWLTV.com in New Orleans both reported that Arkansas had made Miles a substantial offer to become the Razorbacks’ next coach. Miles’ agent, George Bass of Dallas, denied the original report Tuesday afternoon. “There’s nothing like that going on,” Bass told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
The Times-Picayune, on its We b si t e NOLA.com, cited an anonymous source who said LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva was meeting with Miles’ agent and “the discussion is ongoing.”
The reported offer, which equals $5.5 million a year, would surpass that of Alabama’s Nick Saban, who tops all college football coaches with an annual salary of $5.476 million this season, based on a USA Today salary survey released last week.
Miles, 59, whose eightyear record at LSU is 85-20, led the Tigers to the 2007 BCS national championship and lost last year’s national title game 21-0 to Alabama. LSU has won two SEC titles during Miles’ tenure.
The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 20-13 last Friday at Reynolds Razorback Stadium to cap Arkansas’ 4-8 season.
Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long notified interim Coach John L. Smith the following day that he would be reassigned within the department for the rest of his 10-month contract.
LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette declined to comment Tuesday afternoon when contacted by NOLA.com, other than to say Miles had been informed of the Twitter post while he was on the road recruiting.
“We’ve seen the tweet by Sports by Brooks, and we’re not going to comment on rumors or bits of information,” Bonnette told NOLA.com. “It has been brought to Les’ attention, and he didn’t have anything to say.”
Miles, who ranks second on LSU’s all-time victories chart, is receiving $3.751 million per year, plus incentives, and his salary is the fifth-highest in the country, according to the USA Today survey.
Long told Arkansas football players Sunday he intended to make a hire within two weeks. Arkansas assistant coaches have continued to recruit and conduct inhome visits this week.
Sports, Pages 19 on 11/28/2012