Would Affinity For U-M Lure Miles From LSU?

LSU coach Les Miles made it clear Monday evening that he is not interested in the vacant Michigan coaching job in Ann Arbor. Should the Wolverines show more interest, even potentially extending an offer, could Michigan lure Miles away from Baton Rouge. LSU beat reporter for The Advocate Ross Dellenger offers some insight.

Les Miles’ success as LSU’s football coach is well documented.

At age 61, and in his 10th season in charge of the Tigers, Miles has accumulated a 95-24 record in the very tough SEC, won a national championship, was a game away from another, and claimed two conference titles.

For that very reason, as well as the fact that Miles is a Michigan graduate and former football player under Bo Schembechler, the Wolverines have made him a priority in their search for a fourth coach since the 2007 season.

And last week, a representative for Michigan's coaching search reached out for the first time to Miles agent George Bass (though Miles denied this during a media session in which he didn't want to be filmed or quoted).

“I think everybody kind of expected Michigan to in some way contact Les, whether it be through his agent or the school or just directly contact him,” said Ross Dellenger, the LSU football beat reporter for The Advocate in Baton Rouge.

“I know that they obviously flirted a couple of times the last seven years so I think everybody here kind of expected Michigan to reach out in some way so I think that was kind of expected.”

What’s to follow in the next few days or weeks remains unknown.

Monday evening, in a scheduled post bowl practice media availability with local reporters, Miles denied interest in the Michigan position and was in no mood to discuss the happenings in Ann Arbor.

Fair enough, but that won’t stop fueling further speculation. At LSU though, there appears to be a certain quiet confidence Miles won’t be going anywhere.

“I believe most people around here don’t expect him to leave and I’m certainly one of those,” Dellenger said. “I would be a little bit surprised if Les left. He’s been here 10 years now, he’s kind of got roots down here.

“Three of his four children are still in high school or elementary school or middle school and he really has said multiple times how much he loves it down here, loves Baton Rouge and I actually had a 1-on-1 with him a few months after I started on the beat in February and I think some people saw that Brady Hoke was probably on his last year so I did ask him if he ever wanted to go back home, close to his home and finish out his career.

“He said no and one of the reasons was it was too cold and his family also loves it here and this is kind of, for two or three of his children, this is their home and where they were raised. He’s a big family man.”

Add in the fact that LSU reeled in the No. 2 ranked class in the 2014 recruiting rankings according to Scout.com, a class Miles said is a group you could win a national title with, and things appear bleak for Michigan.

“You throw in all of those factors and I would really be surprised if Les left,” Dellenger said. “But in the college football coaching carousel, business, whatever you want to call it, I’m surprised a lot so, you kind of never know what could happen I guess.”

One thing Michigan does have going for itself is Miles love for his old home, an affinity he’s unafraid to show.

Each of the last two seasons Miles actually tweeted encouragement for Michigan to beat Ohio State on those late November Saturday’s, the entries coming from his certified LSU twitter profile.

Whether or not that inner passion for the Wolverines would mean much in the grand scheme of things should Miles be offered the job in Ann Arbor, it’s certain Michigan will emphasize it in order to further gage his interest.

“He definitely doesn’t hide that he still loves Michigan,” Dellenger said. “He loves the University there, he loved his time there and he doesn’t hide it. We talk to him about it and he’s never been a guy that’s going to hide that.

“It is unusual in the coaching profession to have a guy that is so staunchly for his alma mater who he does not coach. But Les, he’s like that. And that’s why I think it also drives the rumbling with him and the job there for the last few years, that he’s just very open that he loves his Wolverines. That’s just Les being Les.

“He’s done it before, the timing of it was probably odd but again that’s just, he wears it on a sleeve. I think if he didn’t coach at LSU or coach at another major college, he was out of coaching, you’d probably see him walking down the street in a Michigan hat, that’s just who he is.”


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