LSU is hot right now and perceptions of Les Miles have evolved. Mike Freeman believes NFL teams will consider him for upcoming vacancies. His CBS Sports colleagues have run with this speculating how good he would be in the NFL, how this could affect LSU’s recruiting and which teams might be interested. I understand the potential NFL interest, but why would Miles leave LSU?
It’s a lateral move, not an upward one. Miles makes $3.75 million in base salary, over four million per year if you factor in bonuses and non-university compensation. That would put him above average for an NFL head coach. He also has a contract locked in through 2017 with an enormous buyout. The money isn’t that much better, the lifestyle is worse and he wouldn’t get the same job security. He would have to do it because he wanted to coach in the NFL. Had that been his ultimate ambition, one would expect he would have made more noise to that effect before age 58.
LSU is just tapping its potential. John Chavis has his defense fully integrated with players he recruited. They are set to recruit a top class, to reload and to compete for a BCS title every season for the next few years, even without an offense. Does he want to spend his last coaching years chasing BCS titles and cementing his legacy or returning an NFL team to mediocrity?
Miles likes his job. He is a former Michigan player, a former Michigan assistant and met his wife at Michigan. He turned down more money from Michigan twice to stay at LSU. He didn’t even ask LSU to match last winter, he just got an extension. That does not seem like someone who is itching for a new challenge.
All of this has happened before. Saban, Spurrier, Petrino: three coaches Miles may face this season, three examples to dissuade someone from jumping to the professional ranks.