In 2008, Tennessee forced out longtime coach Philip Fulmer and, thanks to a special clause, was able to dump Fulmer’s staff, too.
Former LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis believed a similar clause would lead to Les Miles’ eventual firing in Baton Rouge, according to a deposition recovered by TheAdvocate.com‘s Ross Dellenger.
Chavis, who left after the 2014 season and is now the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M, has been in an ongoing legal battle with his former employer over a $400,000 buyout, which LSU claims Chavis needs to pony up. The coach is denying that responsibility because his lawyers claim a reworded contract supersedes the official contract Chavis originally signed in 2011.
One of the coordinator’s primary reasons for leaving was a “Les Miles clause,” which — similar to the Fulmer situation at Tennessee — directly tied the fate of assistant coaches to Miles. If the head coach were to be fired, the assistants’ contracts would not be “fully honored,” according to Dellenger.
Chavis balked when LSU brought the stipulation to him in renegotiations.
“This kind of reminds me of Phillip Fulmer,” Chavis told Miles in November 2014, according to the documents Dellenger unearthed.
Miles was reportedly on the chopping block near the end of last season, but his monstrous $15 million buyout helped him keep his job. The 62-year-old won a national title with the Tigers in 2007, but has been unable to conjure up a repeat performance in the years since.
Regardless of the penalty, LSU is expected to consider letting Miles go if the über-talented Tigers can’t make a run at the SEC title this fall.