Throughout his tenure at LSU, Les Miles was often tied to another job whenever it opened: the University of Michigan.
Miles, who was fired by LSU on Sunday, played for the Wolverines and legendary coach Bo Schembechler in the ’70s and later returned to UM as an assistant, first as a graduate assistant and then as the offensive line coach from 1987-1994. The Michigan job opened twice during Miles’ time at LSU, once in 2007 and again in 2011.
Skip Bertman, the former athletic director at LSU, told ESPN Radio in Baton Rouge Wednesday that Miles turned down an offer to be Michigan’s head coach in 2011. Bertman coached LSU’s baseball team from 1984 to 2001 before assuming the role as athletic director, a position he held until 2008, when he stepped down. He hired Miles in 2004 after Nick Saban left for the NFL.
“Les Miles turned that job down for more money at Michigan. He turned it down,” Bertman said per ESPN.com. “He would never say that because he’s a very humble guy. But I was there. He turned it down.”
Bertman said former Michigan AD Dave Brandon (the former CEO of Domino’s Pizza) flew to Louisiana and offered Miles the Michigan job.
“The president of Domino’s Pizza flew down on a Domino’s plane and offered him, and he says, ‘You’ve got to tell me tonight, Les, because if you don’t say yes, I’m going to get Brady Hoke.’ And sure enough, he took off and the next day you read in the paper that he hired Brady Hoke,” Bertman said.
Miles was also connected to the job in 2007. On the day of the SEC title game, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit erroneously reported that Miles would become the Wolverines’ head coach. Miles denied the report in an infamous news conference.
Like Bertman said, Brandon and Michigan ended up hiring Brady Hoke from San Diego State. Hoke led the Wolverines to 11 wins, including the Sugar Bowl, in his first season, but things went downhill from there. He was fired in 2014 when the Wolverines went 5-7. Brandon resigned during that season, too.
Things worked out well for the Wolverines, though. After his tumultuous parting of ways with the San Francisco 49ers, Jim Harbaugh accepted the Michigan coaching job and has the Wolverines up to No. 4 in the polls this season.
Meanwhile, LSU will enter a wide-ranging coaching search to replace Miles, who was fired Sunday after the Tigers started the season 2-2. Miles finished with a 114-34 record in Baton Rouge, including the 2007 national title.
For more LSU news, visit TigerBait.com.
For more Michigan news, visit TheWolverine.com.
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