Les Miles’ $15 million buyout reportedly not an issue for LSU boosters

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Last week word started spreading that LSU head coach Les Miles may be coaching for his job. That was after losing back-to-back games to Alabama and Arkansas. Well now he has lost three in a row after the Tigers were topped by Ole Miss last night, dropping the Tigers out of both major polls today. If you needed to throw another log on the fire that is warming Miles’ seat in Baton Rouge, here is one more piece of noteworthy information regarding his buyout. Even at $15 million, that price tag may not be high enough to discourage boosters from having their way with the position.

From James Smith of The Times-Picayune;

The $15 million-dollar buyout clause that is in Les Miles’ contract is what many perceive as one of the bigger hang-ups in making a move.

However, TAF, the athletic program’s booster club that funds a lot of the athletic programs for LSU, will not allow the buyout issue to thwart its plans, according to a high-ranking source.

According to the report, Miles has had discussions with LSU officials recently to discuss his future, and retirement at the end of the 2016 season has been discussed. That may not be soon enough for some boosters with the Tiger Athletic Foundation, which may be an indication this will get a bit uglier before too long.

So here’s the issue at play for LSU’s powers. If you feel the program is underachieving under Les Miles and his real-time decision-making is a hurdle, there is absolutely no reason not to move on and find a new coach to lead the program. If LSU is viewed internally as a national title caliber program, and Miles is not reaching that level of success, then being stuck in neutral while Alabama continues to rule the SEC West is not advisable. The question of whether or not you find a coach better than Miles is not what needs to be answered. It is what coach will give you the best chance to reach that next level. Maybe it is Miles. Maybe it is someone else. That’s what needs to be discussed and agreed upon before jumping the gun on buying out the contract Miles has in place.

So who are some of the names listed as potential targets for LSU? Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and TCU’s Gary Patterson have their name dropped in NOLA.com report. Fisher has won a BCS national title with Florida State and coached the Seminoles to a spot in the playoff last season. Having him in the same division as Alabama would be fun, as would having Swinney in the same division against Alabama. Neither is likely to happen, as both are in good situations where they currently reside as well. Never say never in coaching carousel season, but Patterson leaving TCU has been discussed year after year. He has everything he has worked to build sitting right there in Fort Worth with TCU, so leaving now may not be in the fold either. Just for good measure, good old Jon Gruden gets name dropped as a candidate as well, because why not?

Gruden’s not going to coach in college. If he ever returns to a sideline, it will be in the NFL.

Miami fires offensive coordinator Josh Gattis after 1 season

josh gattis fired
Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami fired offensive coordinator Josh Gattis on Friday, ending the former Broyles Award winner’s time with the Hurricanes after only one season.

The school announced the move in a one-sentence press release, with no other detail: “Josh Gattis has been relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator, Miami head football coach Mario Cristobal announced Friday,” read the release, sent from a university spokesman.

The Hurricanes went 5-7 in Gattis’ lone season. He was brought in by Miami only a few weeks after winning the 2021 Broyles Award – given to the nation’s top assistant coach – while serving as Michigan’s offensive coordinator and helping the Wolverines reach the College Football Playoff.

But Miami’s offense, for a number of reasons, failed to meet expectations in 2022. Part of that was injuries; starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke battled a shoulder injury, and the Hurricanes turned to Jake Garcia – who has since transferred – and Jacurri Brown for much of the season.

Miami scored 100 points in its first two games last fall, overpowering Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss. The Hurricanes averaged only 18.3 points the rest of the way, and finished the year 5-0 in games where the defense allowed no more than 14 points – but 0-7 when opponents scored more than 14.

Miami was 86th nationally in total offense last season, averaging 367.1 yards per game, and 97th in scoring offense.

Gattis played at Wake Forest and worked at North Carolina, Western Michigan, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Alabama and Michigan before coming to Miami.

Audit: LSU discovered $1M overpayment to Kelly in 2022

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU accidentally overpaid Tigers football coach Brian Kelly by $1 million during the first year of a 10-year, $100 million contract, but discovered the error and has moved to correct it, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office said Wednesday.

Kelly was overpaid $1,001,368 in supplemental payments in 2022 because duplicate payments made both to Kelly’s LLC and to the coach directly.

The double payments began in May and continued until LSU officials detected the errors in November.

“LSU management and the head football coach have enacted an adjusted payment schedule so the amount of overpayment will be recouped by the conclusion of fiscal year 2023,” the Legislative Auditor’s report stated.

Kelly, who previously coached at Notre Dame for 12 seasons, was hired by LSU after the 2021 season, when the Tigers went 6-7 for its first losing season since 1999.

LSU exceeded expectations in Kelly’s first season in Baton Rouge, winning the SEC West Division and finishing 10-4 after a 63-7 victory over Purdue in the Citrus Bowl.