Laval dismisses rumors about Oklahoma job - again

After five years of debate on whether or not Nick Saban would leave LSU for the NFL, the long-term discussion came to an end when Saban announced he would coach the Miami Dolphins.

Another debate is in full swing – this time the topic is LSU baseball coach Smoke Laval. Reports are swirling that Laval, who just completed his fourth year as the Tigers' head coach, has talked with the University of Oklahoma about its head coaching vacancy. While some LSU baseball fans welcome the news after Laval's Tigers failed to win the Baton Rouge Regional for the first time since 1995, Laval says the reports are totally untrue.

"I don't know how this got out," Laval told the Baton Rouge Advocate. "I have no idea. I haven't talked to anybody."

The rumors first surfaced last month when the Tulsa World reported Laval had shown interest in the Sooners' job.

LSU athletic director Skip Bertman said "no one has called me" referring to other school's must ask permission to speak to a coach about possible talks. Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione had no comment on the matter.

The job came open on May 1 when Oklahoma coach Larry Cochell resigned after making racially-motivated remarks off camera to an ESPN baseball analyst.

Laval, 49, has compiled a 175-85-1 record at LSU, with one SEC title (2003) and two trips to the College World Series (03, 04). His record of 75-43-1 is the best in the SEC in the past four seasons.

Other names that have surfaced who have spoken to Oklahoma are South Carolina's Ray Tanner, Tulane's Rick Jones, Arizona State's Andy Lope and Cal-State Fullerton's George Horton.

Clemson's Jack Leggett has also shown interest in the job and Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso has already interviewed for the position. Bertman said he has spoken to Castiglione, however, not about Laval.

"I've spoken to Joe about other coaches, but not Smoke," Bertman said.

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