Les Miles, longtime football coach at Louisiana State University, indicated to boosters that Saturday's game against Texas A&M University will be his final matchup with the Tigers, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Friday, citing sources at a Tiger Gridiron Club luncheon. Miles, who has recently been the subject of firing rumors amid a few poor performances, didn't fully say he had been let go, but made his point clear to the club that he was out at LSU.
"He didn't use those words, but he made it clear that Saturday is his last game," one club member told the Times-Picayune. A separate source told the paper that Miles indicated he "wouldn't be seeing them at the bowl game, he would 'always be a Tiger' and 'thanks for a great 11 years.'" LSU-focused website Tiger Rag reported as well that Miles told the Gridiron Club that Saturday would be his final game with the university. Miles regularly speaks to the club the Friday before games.
BREAKING: Les Miles indicates LSU's game Saturday will be his last as head coach. (via New Orleans Times-Picayune) pic.twitter.com/20t7ttdB9b
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 27, 2015
Miles has had a remarkably successful run at LSU, amassing a 110-32 record as well as winning two Southeastern Conference championships and the 2007 BCS national championship. Miles is the ninth-highest-paid coach in college football and would receive at the very least a significant buyout were he fired, if not one of the largest in college football history.
The payout amount would be subject to interpretation and "assuredly subject to Miles’ future endeavors," USA Today reported Thursday. The paper reported Miles' contract says he would receive $15 million if fired without cause by Dec. 31, but it also stipulates that the figure would be reduced by the amount of money the coach already received during his current contract year. That would reportedly leave Miles' payout at around $11 million. Miles' agent told USA Today this week, however, that the buyout would be $15 million should his client be fired before Dec. 31. ESPN previously reported that boosters at LSU had already indicated they were willing to foot a $15 to $20 million bill to buy Miles out. “In Louisiana, we expect national championships, and we’re not in it,” a source told ESPN.
Miles' buyout, whether it were $11 million or $15 million, would likely be one of the largest ever of its kind. The biggest payout under such circumstances is estimated to have gone to former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weiss after he was let go in 2009. ESPN pegged the figure at a whopping $18.9 million. The total has been paid out over installments, and Notre Dame will finally get the coach off the books in December of this year, according to The Big Lead.
A $15M buyout for Les Miles would be the 2nd biggest buyout in college history. Charlie Weis' ND deal is believed to have been for $18.9M.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) November 23, 2015
Miles' projected payout would put him in second place of all time, after Weiss. ESPN estimates put former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini in third place, receiving a relatively small buyout of $7.9 million after being fired last year.
USA Today reported, however, that LSU's buyout to Miles could be paid out over an eight-year period and could be significantly reduced should the coach land a position elsewhere. LSU’s financial obligation to the coach “shall be reduced … to the extent of any compensation [Miles] earns, receives or is entitled to receive from any third party” after his firing date, Miles' contract states, according to the paper.
Should Miles want to land a new coaching job, the 62-year-old would likely do so quickly. His LSU teams have won 10 games or more seven times in his 11 seasons at the university and have won 77 percent of their total matchups.
LSU athletic director Joe Alleva has not yet commented on the rumors surrounding Miles. LSU started the 2015 season 7-0 and were at one point ranked No. 2 in the country but have stumbled recently and lost three consecutive games.