LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva: Les Miles speculation at end of last season 'great wake-up call for everybody' _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU head coach Les Miles and LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva chat while walking in the center of the field during pregame warmups ahead of the Texas Bowl in December.

LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva said Thursday that the end-of-season reports about coach Les Miles' job security have been "a great wake-up call for everybody."

Alleva, visiting with Culotta & The Prince on 104.5/104.9 ESPN-FM in Baton Rouge on Thursday morning beamed about the program's current status by touting his confidence in this season's experienced squad and the program's future in recruiting.

"I really think all the speculation that happened at the end of the season with coach Miles -- I think at the end of the day it actually has inspired and motivated the whole program to achieve at higher levels," Alleva said. "… I think this year we have a chance to be truly exceptional."

LSU's freefall at the end of the 2015 season, which included losses to Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss, led to explosive reports about Miles' tenuous hold on his job. In the first week of December, Alleva told The Advocate he “looked at options” and made “inquiries” regarding a potential new football coach, but those ended four days before the Tigers’ regular-season finale against Texas A&M.

The story began when The Advocate broke the news on Nov. 17 that, before the Ole Miss game, that there were strong indications from athletic department sources that Miles was coaching for his job vs. the Rebels and Texas A&M.

The potential deal to fire Les Miles began to fall through as the school’s president started to intervene even as negotiations between LSU and Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher were ongoing, multiple sources told The Advocate. The university began leaning toward keeping Miles as early as the Wednesday before LSU’s win over Texas A&M last Saturday, and a final decision was announced to some LSU Board of Supervisors members during a meeting at halftime of the game.

"I think now everyone realizes that we have tremendous potential, and our goal is to compete at the highest level," Alleva said Thursday. "Sometimes things like that are good to wake everybody."

The Tigers, which return 18 of 22 starters from last season's nine-win team, opens the 2016 season on a big stage at Lambeau Field against Wisconsin.

Alleva spoke on a variety of topics in the interview, including satellite camps, college football's new text messaging rules, potential Big 12 expansion, SEC basketball scheduling, this year's Tiger basketball team and more. Click here to listen to the full interview.