LSU Makes Les Miles the Richest Coach in the SEC. . .By $1,000

Sat, Mar 15, 2008 at 10:15 pm ET

College Football

Frumped by

Tigers, Miles set NCAA record for biggest raise after a 2 loss season.  Seriously, it’s time for a change, folks…

Les Miles, allergic to Gatorade, gets the Victory Shower after winning the 2007 BCS Title

Yep, at at least $3.751 million a year for the next 5 years, a raise of nearly $2 million per year, Leslie has become the highest paid coach in the SEC.  Apparently he’ll be making exactly $1,000 more than the last guy that led LSU to a MNC, Nick Saban, who is currently in charge of restoring Alabama’s once proud tradition after failing to accomplish the same for the Miami Dolphins. 

So, $1,000 more, eh?  Really?  This may be the biggest “ego raise” I’ve ever seen, and the whole Saban-Miles-LSU thing just makes it that much more juicy.  But let’s not forget what Miles has done since he took the LSU job in 2005:  He’s gone 11-2, 11-2 and 12-2, and, of course, has that MNC in the case now, so he’s no slouch necessarily.  But is he worth $3.751 million?

Well, the MNC is probably the best argument that he is, but then it came in a truly bizarre year.  The Bayou Bengals managed to lose 2 games over the last 6 weeks of the regular season, including their last game, against Arkansas (whatever happened to the idea that losing late kills you?).  Yet at 12-2 they played for the SEC Championship and then the BCS Championship and came out on top.  Fair enough, but you know,  6 other teams finished the 2007 season with 2 losses:  BYU, Ohio State, Missouri, West Virginia, USC, and Georgia.  Two others actually finished with one loss, Hawaii and Kansas, though the Rainbow Warriors, and BYU for that matter, probably don’t bolster the point here.  What is the point, you ask?  Well, is it possible that Leslie is simply a victim, or perhaps “victor”, of circumstance? 

Miles has yet to go undefeated, or even post a 1 loss season; a feat that Jim Tressel, Mark Richt, Rich Rodriguez, Pete Carroll, Mack Brown, Urban Meyer, Tommy Tuberville, Phillip Fulmer, Steve Spurrier and, of course, Nick Saban have all managed.  That’s not an exclusive list by the way, just notables.  Hell, two of those cats are in Leslie’s division, let alone conference, and yet all of them, with the exception of Carroll and Saban, will be making, at best, close to $1 million less than Miles next year.  Mark Richt just got a raise after going 11-2 and winning his 2nd Sugar Bowl.  He’ll now be banking around 2.8 million a year.  He’s 1-0 against Miles.  $3.751 million?

Georgia recently bumped Richt's salary to $2.8 million after going 11-2 in 2007

But I’ll be honest, though I do think Miles is now overpaid, I’m really just using him as a vehicle to convey how flawed college football’s system of rewards is.  If things don’t change reasonably soon after the nature of the 2007 season (which deserves its own article), they probably never will, and that would be an unfortunate fate for my favorite sport.  The decision of who plays for the Mythical National Championship seems alomst completely arbitrary at this point, and driven by preconceived notions about what teams are really the “best”.  With his $2 million raise, Leslie has benefited from that after hauling in his MNC in 2007 (LSU was ranked #2 in both the AP and Coaches’ pre-season polls), but he’s obviously not to blame.

So, $3.751 million.  Wow.  That probably puts Leslie at #3 in the country.  Carroll reportedly edges him at around $3.8 million, but both he and Miles trail significantly behind one man:  Charlie Weiss, reportedly at around $4.3 million.  And we think Leslie is overpaid?  Sheesh…


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One Response to “LSU Makes Les Miles the Richest Coach in the SEC. . .By $1,000”

  1. Eliot Spitzer Says:

    This reminds me of a R.Kelly video.

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