Les Miles is known as a gambler. He makes moves from the sideline that defy common sense, but his latest move is a brilliant one.
Miles was reportedly given an offer of $27.5 million for five years (per ESPN.com) from the Arkansas Razorbacks. Just a day later, he was offered an extension from LSU (per LSUSports.net), showing that Miles knows how to leverage a contract.
Did anyone really believe that Miles would jump from Baton Rouge to Fayetteville?
Let’s be honest, this is not a difficult decision. LSU has become a premier program under the guidance of Miles in the past eight seasons, winning two conference titles and a national title in 2007.
He has been a winner throughout his career, only coaching one losing season—his first with Oklahoma State in 2001. He has won 10 or more games at LSU six times and is currently on a three-season streak with 10 wins.
With an overall record of 85-20 at LSU, Miles is one of the winningest coaches in the SEC. The fact that Arkansas offered him the job is no surprise, but the fact that LSU jumped at the opportunity to offer him an extension is a bit surprising.
Miles just received a contract extension in 2011 making him the highest-paid coach in the SEC. There have been no details released as to how much the raise will be, but the fact that he was able to leverage for more money is very impressive.
The Mad Hatter may not be so mad after all.
I think that Miles is a premier-level coach. He has put together winning programs year after year in one of the most difficult conferences in the country.
LSU saw that he was looking around and did what most programs would do by extending his contract. There will be jokes about the move, but it was expected once the word came out that Arkansas was scouting the LSU head man.
Adding years and money to a coach’s contract has become a part of the show. Schools are no longer afraid of buyouts and extensions, so tossing a few extra years on the end of an agreement and an additional incentive or two means nothing.
That is what you are seeing here.
For Miles, this is simple. If he keeps on winning, he will get paid handsomely. He knows that one slip would result in his release no matter how big his contract is. Grabbing a few extra ducats to end the day is a win-win scenario for both school and coach.
LSU keeps around its winning coach and Miles walks home with a new bowling ball.