Miles up for coach of the year award

First-year LSU coach Les Miles is one of 12 coaches from across the country named as a semifinalist for the 17th annual George Munger National Coach of the Year Award, the Maxwell Football Club Advisory Committee announced on Wednesday.

The George Munger Award is presented annually by the Maxwell Club to the nation's top college football coach. Last year, former Utah coach Urban Meyer was named the winner of the George Munger Award.

In his first year with the Tigers, Miles has guided LSU to a 6-1 overall mark and to a No. 6 national ranking through the first two months of the season. Of LSU's six wins, three have come against teams ranked in the top 20, including victories over No. 11 Florida and No. 15 Auburn.

In addition to all of its on-field accomplishments, Miles has also successfully managed an LSU football team that has had to deal with a pair of devastating hurricanes that hit the Louisiana coast this year.

The impact of Hurricane Katrina left the Tigers without one home game (the Arizona State game became a road contest), while also moving the original season-opener against North Texas back eight weeks to Oct. 29. In addition, the impact of Hurricane Rita, which hit in late-September, forced the Tigers to move what was scheduled to be a Saturday night contest against Tennessee two days later to Monday night.

Then, five days following the Tennessee contest, a game the Tigers lost in overtime, LSU hit the road for a game against Mississippi State in Starkville. LSU won that game 37-7 to start its current five-game winning streak.

Despite all of the distractions and adversity, Miles has kept the Tigers on course as LSU heads into the final month of the regular season still in control of its fate in the Southeastern Conference. Next week, LSU travels to face fourth-ranked Alabama in a game that could ultimately determine the winner of the SEC Western Division.

Other semifinalists for the George Munger Award include Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez, Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, Florida State's Bobby Bowden, Texas' Mack Brown, Southern Cal's Pete Carroll, Miami's Larry Coker, UCLA's Karl Dorrell, Penn State's Joe Paterno, Georgia's Mark Richt, Alabama's Mike Shula, and Notre Dame's Charlie Weis.

The winner of the George Munger Award will be announced in December with the winner being presented the award at the Maxwell Club's Foundation Dinner on Friday, March 3, 2006 in Atlantic City, N.J.

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