Oh, this again.
For the third time in Les Miles’ 10 years in Baton Rouge, Michigan is searching for a head football coach.
The Wolverines fired coach Brady Hoke on Tuesday, possibly thrusting Miles into the cross hairs of a coaching search at his alma mater for a third time in seven years.
Miles, an Ohio native who just finished his 10th season at LSU, played at Michigan and still publicly roots for his alma mater.
Michigan has not contacted LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva about speaking to Miles, Alleva told The Advocate on Tuesday. But he said he would not expect Michigan to do that if it were interested in Miles. Schools nowadays contact coaches’ agents, Alleva said.
Miles did not respond to a message about the opening at Michigan. The coach spent Tuesday visiting prospects, according to multiple recruiting sites and at least one tweet from a player.
Michigan administrators are in a “significant disagreement” about the potential candidacy of Miles, FootballScoop.com reported in a story Tuesday. Some at the school, the report said, are afraid of being rejected by Miles again.
The school flirted with Miles in 2007 and 2010. Former LSU Athletic Director Skip Bertman believes the third inquiry will end like the first two.
“I don’t know if they’re coming for Miles,” Bertman said Tuesday. “If they do, I don’t think Les is going to go.”
Michigan’s pursuit of Miles is no secret. The well documented, two-act saga might turn into a trilogy.
Michigan courted Miles to replace Lloyd Carr after the 2007 season, a flirtation highlighted with ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit’s report that Miles had accepted the job at Michigan. That spawned the notorious press conference hours before LSU played Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game in 2007 in which Miles ended it by saying, “Have a great day.”
Michigan ultimately hired then-West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez. The school again pursued Miles in 2010 after firing Rodriguez. It ultimately hired Hoke.
Miles was offered the Michigan job in 2010 during a visit from then-Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon in Baton Rouge, Bertman said. Bertman wasn’t the athletic director in 2010 but had a grasp on the situation.
Bertman hired Miles in 2005 and was athletic director during Michigan’s first overture of the coach in 2007, one that ended in contract perks for the coach.
“(We) gave him a package he was satisfied with the night before (the SEC championship game),” Bertman said. “Les deserved it and got it.”
Hoke made $2.8 million a year at Michigan, according to figures from USA Today. That ranks 30th in the nation. Miles makes $4.3 million a year, seventh nationally. He received a two-year contract extension through 2019 after the 2012 season.
Miles has such a connection to Michigan that the school is in the coach’s original contract with LSU. Miles would owe the school $1.25 million if he left for Michigan, according to the deal.
Miles played on the offensive line for legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler. He was a graduate assistant in 1980-81 and coached the Wolverines offensive line in 1987-1994.
Michigan Athletic Director Jim Hackett, in charge of finding a replacement for Hoke, played with Miles for three seasons at Michigan. The two were offensive linemen in 1973-75.
Hackett, in a news conference Tuesday, said the search for a new coach is starting “immediately” but declined to speak specifically about candidates. The school is “looking for the best out there,” and that doesn’t necessarily mean a former Michigan player or coach, Hackett said.
“I want to get rid of the word ‘Michigan Man,’” Hackett said at one point during the news conference.
At least one former LSU player spoke out Tuesday through Twitter.
“(I don’t know) why they keep saying Miles name he will never leave LSU for Michigan,” ex-LSU safety Craig Loston said.
Miles has developed deep roots in Baton Rouge, and it might be unlikely that he’d leave.
Three of Miles’ four children are in elementary, middle or high school in Baton Rouge.
In an interview with The Advocate in February, the coach said he wasn’t interested in moving back near his home of Elyria, Ohio. Michigan is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, just 140 miles from Elyria.
In July at Southeastern Conference media days, Miles said, “I hope I’m here for 10 more years.”
When asked about the Michigan job last week, Miles said he’d given “little or no thought” to any other head coaching jobs. “I am so comfortable with my team and doing what I’m doing. I do not read the paper. I certainly respect and love Michigan and wish them the very best,” he said.