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COLLEGE FOOTBALL Miles succeeds Saban at LSU



Published: Tue, January 4, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



He won't get the same salary as Nick Saban because he 'hasn't earned it.'

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Les Miles was introduced as LSU's football coach on Monday and said he wants to build on the work of Nick Saban, who left the Tigers for the Miami Dolphins.

"The goal is to run the finest football program in the country where our guys can have an experience that is second to none," Miles said.

The 51-year-old Miles, who led Oklahoma State to three straight bowl games, emerged as the top candidate Saturday, after Louisville coach Bobby Petrino withdrew from consideration.

The LSU job opened when Saban took the head coaching job with the Dolphins on Dec. 25.

No contract details

Tigers athletic director Skip Bertman declined to reveal details of Miles' contract, except to say that Miles would not be paid as well as Saban.

"I'm not going to pay Saban money for a guy who hasn't earned it," Bertman said.

Saban had the nation's richest college football contract, a seven-year, $18.45 million deal he signed after winning a share of the national title in 2003.

The school is completing a stadium expansion and a new football operations center.

Miles' contract still needs to be approved by the LSU Board of Directors, which is scheduled to meet later this month.

When LSU offered Miles the job, Oklahoma State offered him a raise, Bertman said.

"Miles stuck to his word and did not try to renegotiate with me," he said.

The school hoped to complete the search quickly to allow the new coach to immediately get involved with recruiting. The process was delayed because the most prominent candidates were in bowl games or in the NFL.

Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt withdrew from consideration on Thursday.

LSU hoped to interview Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio, but the parties involved were apparently unable to set up a meeting.

Miles is 28-21 in four seasons with the Cowboys, who made just one bowl appearance in the 12 seasons before he arrived. His biggest wins came against the Cowboys' instate rival, Oklahoma, in his first two seasons.

"Throughout the football community, Les Miles is extraordinarily well respected," Bertman said.

On Wednesday, Oklahoma State lost 33-7 to Ohio State in the Alamo Bowl.

Petrino apologizes

Meanwhile, Petrino apologized Monday for his dalliance with LSU just days after signing a new contract with Louisville, and said he needs to mend his relationship with the school's athletic director and its fans.

Speculation about Petrino's future came as the seventh-ranked Cardinals prepared for the Liberty Bowl, which they won 44-40 against 10th-ranked Boise State on New Year's Eve.

"I'd like to apologize for the uproar that I caused for the fans and the administration last week," Petrino said Monday at the school's football complex.

"It was certainly not my intent."

Petrino said he is committed to Louisville, echoing statements he made when he signed his contract last month.

"This is where I want to be," he said.




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