ENGSTER: What does year 3 hold for Miles?

As Les Miles preps for his third season at LSU, expectations are spectacular after 44 wins in the last four seasons for the Tigers.

Miles is certainly aware that his season could be spoiled on Nov. 3 at Alabama. Look for Miles to take a page from Dale Brown's playbook and try every motivational method possible when the Tigers trek to Tuscaloosa to face Nick Saban's Crimson Tide.


Saban went 8-5 in his third season at LSU. Historically, year three has been a mixed bag for LSU football coaches.


Here is a look at the past 10 coaches in their junior campaigns at LSU:

Nick Saban                  8-5       2002


Gerry DiNardo             9-3       1997


Curley Hallman 5-6       1993


Mike Archer                 4-7       1989


Bill Arnsparger 9-3       1986


Jerry Stovall                 8-2-1   1982


Charles McClendon      8-2-1  1964


Paul Dietzel                  5-5       1957


Gaynell Tinsley 4-5-2   1950


Bernie Moore               9-2       1937


The pressure is on Miles to become the first LSU coach to lead the Tigers to at least 10 wins in his third season. Anything short of SEC honors and a run at the BCS title will be considered less than satisfactory by many of the LSU faithful.




The 60th anniversary of Pete Maravich's birth in Aliquippa, Pa., took place on June 22. This means as much time has passed since Pete's death as the span between him becoming famous at age 20 and his death on Jan. 5, 1988, at 40.


Maravich set records as an LSU senior in 1970 that have been untouchable in the 37 years since his departure from TigerTown. Pete passed Oscar Robertson on Jan. 31, 1970, to become the most prolific scorer in major college history.


Since the night that Pistol Pete soared over the Big O, five other NCAA sharpshooters have also moved ahead of the 2,973 career points scored by Robertson from 1957-60 at Cincinnati. Nobody has come close to the 3,667 points that Maravich amassed in just 83 games.


Freeman Williams is second all-time with 3,249 points accumulated in four years at Portland State from 1974-78. The 44.2 average per game for the Pistol is nearly 10 points better than Notre Dame's Austin Carr, who averaged 34.6 points per game from 1968-71.

Maravich missed more shots than he made, but his legacy is significant.


The odds of another college athlete averaging more than 44 points per game for three years are off the chart. With athletes now eligible for four years and the three-point play producing higher scoring games, Maravich's total point record should someday be eclipsed. But it is notable that Pete is 418 points ahead of the number two man on the list nearly four decades after his last dribble at the Cow Palace.


The Pistol's gaudy numbers are surpassed by his showmanship. His flair has become part of SEC lore. In a league that produced the Mount Olympus of college hoops in Kentucky and a school that rolled out Bob Pettit, Shaquille O'Neal and Chris Jackson, Maravich is the player most remembered and revered by basketball aficionados.




LSU cage connoisseurs may concur that the most substantial victory by an LSU basketball team before, during or after the reign of Pistol Pete occurred on the night on Feb. 11, 1978, in Baton Rouge.


Next year marks the 30th anniversary of LSU's 95-94 overtime triumph over national champion Kentucky. The crowd at the Deaf Dome stormed the court as LSU nipped the Wildcats of Rick Robey, Jack Givens, Mike Phillips and Kyle Macy.


The triumph was most remarkable because LSU's starting five of Rudy Macklin, DeWayne Scales, Kenny Higgs, Ethan Martin and Lionel Green fouled out of the game.

Dale Brown's motivational capacity made national news on this eventful night. The 42-year-old Brown was steamed because his troops were mauled four weeks earlier in Lexington as LSU bowed to the Big Blue by 20 points. Brown captured headlines that day by using his post-game comments to inquire about the sex life of veteran writer Billy Reed of Kentucky.


The night of Feb. 11 belonged to the Tigers as freshman Willie Sims, an African-American Jew from New York City, scored the deciding points in overtime. The loss to LSU was only one of two defeats in 32 games for Joe Hall's team. Kentucky captured the national championship 44 days later with a 94-88 victory over Duke.


Sonny Marks is writing a book about the 1978 LSU victory over Kentucky. He is striving to have it available in time for next year's anniversary. For those who attended the game, Sonny is seeking personal memories. His email address is sonnymarks@yahoo.com.




Jim Engster is the general manager of Louisiana Network and Tiger Rag. Reach him at jim@la-net.net.

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