LSU’s president F. King Alexander confirmed during an interview with Business Report’s Stephanie Riegel that the decision to keep coach Les Miles was made during last weekend’s game against Texas A&M.
Alexander told Riegel that he made the final decision along with athletic director Joe Alleva and board members during halftime of LSU’s 19-7 win over the Aggies. Alexander added the decision had “pretty much been made” days before.
“It was a combination of factors and a decision that we made collectively,” Alexander told Riegel. “We weighed all the factors in all this and it was a joint decision between many of our board members, our AD and many of us decided this was the wrong time and wrong place (to replace Miles.)”
One of the biggest factors in the Miles situation was a substantial buyout clause in the coach’s contract. LSU would have been forced to pay Miles a $15 million severance package, plus an additional $2 million to his assistant coaches. Alexander told Riegel this buyout was an important part of the decision.
“After the type of budget battle we went through this past spring we certainly do not need to be throwing tens of millions of dollars around under certain circumstances,” Alexander told Riegel. “We don’t need to go into the next legislative session with a black eye that we’re throwing tens of millions of dollars around on issues that aren’t associated with academic progress.”
Alexander told Riegel another reason the university kept Miles was the support shown by fans leading up the A&M game. The support was generated by rampant speculation that Miles would be fired over the past two weeks. Alexander told Riegel that there were plenty of emotions to balance with the decision.
“Decisions like that are complex and complicated and based on performance history, the direction of the program and oftentimes they don’t have easy answers,” Alexander told Riegel. “You have to weigh everything. A lot of people out there said we had to do something. Half the people said we don’t have to do anything and emotions were all over the place. Somehow you have to not overreact to the emotions and weigh all the factors.”