Multiple websites reported Tuesday that Arkansas has made an offer to representatives of LSU coach Les Miles to fill the Razorbacks’ football coaching vacancy, reports refuted later in the day by Miles’ agent.
The website SportsbyBrooks.com reported on its Twitter page that Miles’ representatives had a five-year, $27.5 million offer on the table from Arkansas.
The site 24/7Sports.com also reported that Arkansas has reached out to gauge Miles’ interest, citing a connection between Miles and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who played football at Arkansas. The site said Miles was considering the offer.
Another website, FootballRumorMill.com, endorsed the SportsbyBrooks report.
Tuesday evening, WWL-TV quoted NFL draft expert Mike Detillier as saying Arkansas has made Miles a $27 million offer spearheaded by Jones. A report on NOLA.com said Miles’ agent, George Bass, and LSU Athletic director Joe Alleva were meeting Tuesday to discuss the offer.
Bass denied the reports earlier Tuesday, telling the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, “There’s nothing like that going on.”
A call to Bass by The Advocate was not returned. Alleva also declined comment.
Baton Rouge-based website FootballScoop.com, which monitors and reports on football coaching changes nationwide, tweeted that Miles did not initiate any contact with Arkansas and that he “isn’t leaving” LSU, but that the situation may create leverage for pay raises for Miles and his staff. A tweet by CBSSports.com reporter Bruce Feldman echoed those sentiments.
Miles currently makes $3.751 million per season. According to a 2011 study by USA Today, Miles was the nation’s fifth-highest-paid coach.
Former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, who was dismissed in April as the result of a sex scandal, made just over $3.6 million.
Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long began his sports administration career at Michigan at the same time Miles was an assistant coach with the school.
Tuesday afternoon, Arkansas beat writers Tom Murphy of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Robby Neiswanger of the Arkansas News Service both cited unnamed sources in tweeting that they were told no offer from Arkansas to Miles existed.
LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette said Miles was made aware of the initial report but that the neither Miles nor the school would comment on Internet rumors.
Miles is scheduled to meet with the media at 2 p.m. Wednesday, his first public comments since LSU’s 20-13 win Friday at Arkansas.
Miles, 59, is 85-20 in eight seasons at LSU, the second-winningest coach in school history.
He has led the Tigers to a BCS championship, two Southeastern Conference titles, five top-10 finishes, six seasons of 10 wins or more and a 5-2 bowl record.
LSU is 10-2 and ranked No. 7 in the BCS as it awaits a bowl bid Sunday, likely to either the AT&T Cotton or Chick-fil-A.
Miles’ career winning percentage at LSU is .810, fifth-best in SEC history behind only Robert Neyland of Tennessee (.829), former Florida coach Urban Meyer (.813), Alabama’s Wallace Wade (.8117) and Frank Thomas (.8116), and just ahead of Nick Saban (LSU and Alabama) and former Alabama coach Paul Bryant (both .797).
Miles is 113-41 overall as a head coach including his 28-21 record at Oklahoma State (2001-04), a potential opponent for LSU should the Tigers be invited to the Cotton Bowl.
This is not the first time Miles’ name has been tied to possible coaching vacancies during his LSU tenure.
In 2007, Miles called an impromptu news conference hours before his Tigers faced Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game to refute a report that he would leave LSU to become the coach at Michigan, his alma mater. Miles wrapped up his minute-long statement with the now famous coda, “Have a great day.”
Just before LSU’s appearance in the 2011 Cotton Bowl on Jan. 7 of that year, Miles was again tabbed as a candidate for the Michigan job. Miles met with Michigan athletic director and former Wolverines teammate Dave Brandon, but four days after the game he reaffirmed that he would remain at LSU.
Miles name was mentioned in another Internet report earlier this season that he might become a candidate for the Dallas Cowboys job should current Cowboys coach Jason Garrett be fired.
Miles was an assistant coach with the Cowboys from 1998-2000, his only stint in professional football.