During his search for a defensive coordinator last January, LSU coach Les Miles met with Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, Penn State’s Bob Shoop, Oklahoma’s Mike Stoops and Georgia Tech’s Ted Roof.
Miles considered 21 more candidates for the position that he eventually gave to Kevin Steele, then the linebackers coach at Alabama.
Miles even considered North Carolina defensive coordinator and former Auburn coach Gene Chizik, and he spoke on the phone with a bevy of other candidates, according to court documents obtained by The Advocate.
The detailed information on the coordinator search appeared in documents filed this week by LSU regarding the university’s on-going legal spat with former defensive coordinator John Chavis.
In response to Chavis’ request, the university identified the list of potential candidates that Miles and director of football operations Dean Dingman created in late December and early January to replace the departed Chavis, now at Texas A&M.
Twelve of the 25-man list were never contacted. The other 13 or their agents were, at the very least, contacted via phone, through calls and/or text messages. Five – Aranda, Shoop, Stoops, Roof and Steele – met with Miles and Dingman at locations across the nation.
Miles or Dingman had at least one phone conversation with then-Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, Louisville’s Todd Grantham, Clemson’s Brent Venables and then-Georgia coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Miles spoke directly to Venables and Muschamp, according to the documents.
Ex-defensive line coach Brick Haley was on the list of candidates to replace Chavis, and Haley and Miles conducted “in-person discussions” about the job, documents say. Haley left the program for the D-line job at Texas.
Ed Orgeron was on the list of candidates for the defensive coordinator job but he was one of the 12 coaches who was not contacted regarding the position. LSU hired Orgeron to replace Haley as D-line coach in a joint news conference with Steele in January.
The in-person meeting with the coordinator candidates took place from Jan. 3 to Jan. 11.
Miles and Dingman first met with Stoops, the former Arizona head coach and OU defensive coordinator. The meeting took place in Dallas, Texas, on Jan. 3.
On Jan. 7, Miles and Dingman met with two candidates. In Lawrenceville, Georgia, they met with Roof, Auburn’s defensive coordinator in 2009-11 and Penn State’s DC in 2012. They met in Nashville, Tennessee, with Shoop, Vanderbilt’s defensive coordinator 2011-13 who followed head coach James Franklin to Penn State.
On Jan. 10, Miles and Dingman met with Steele in Charleston, South Carolina. The last candidate Miles and Dingman met with was Aranda, the Wisconsin defensive coordinator since 2013 who spent 2008-11 at Hawaii. The meeting with Aranda took place in Chicago on Jan. 11, two days before Dingman flew to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to pick up Steele for a news conference the next day.
Other coaches who were contacted by LSU regarding the coordinator job include Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith and then-Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. Dingman spoke to Smith’s agent, and Miles talked directly to Mattison. Clancy Pendegast, former Southern Cal and Cal defensive coordinator now with the 49ers, contacted Miles “on one occasion” regarding the job, the documents say.
Those coaches who were never contacted about the job but were on the list include the following: Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi; former Chicago Bears’ DC and current Alabama defensive backs coach Mel Tucker; Central Florida DC Tyson Summers; Chizik and Orgeron; Baylor DC Phil Bennett; former Southern Miss coach and ex-Auburn DC Ellis Johnson; then-Falcons DC Mike Nolan, now with the San Diego Chargers; then-Florida DC and Michigan DC DJ Durkin, recently hired as Maryland’s head coach; Stanford DC Lance Anderson; Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac; and then-Pitt DC Matt House, now at Florida International.
In the documents, LSU also lists 10 potential candidates for the defensive line job. Nine of the 10 on the list were also considered for the DC job and have already been named in this report. The one new name: Southern Miss defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc, who was the only candidate for the position who was contacted outside of Orgeron.
Orgeron was the only D-line candidate who LSU met with.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @RossDellenger.