Coaches’ Contracts: Les Miles

April 18, 2008

The next stop on the SEC coach contract tour is Baton Rouge for Les Miles’ legally binding document with LSU.

The first thing you find out, and it’s in bold and all caps too, is that LSU’s full name is “Lousiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College.” That’s LSUA&MC for those of you keeping score at home. So does the contract use Leslie Edwin Miles’s full name? Nope, he’s just Les Miles.

As with Nick Saban at Alabama, Miles had to initial every page of his contract, including the one with everyone’s signatures. The contract also has the odd convention of writing out numerical values and putting the value as expressed by numbers in parenthesis after. Money values are written out as if it was a check. See the selected quotes below for an example.

His bonuses are pretty standard – for bowl games, winning the SEC West, winning the entire SEC, and appearing in the BCS national championship game. He does not get any extra money over the $175,000 for appearing in the BCS title game, but you’d think a coach wouldn’t need extra motivation to want to win it.

This one’s for you guys, Trindon. I’m all out of performance bonuses.

On top of those, though, he gets relative pay adjustments. If he wins 10 games, his total pay must be at least the 5th highest in the SEC, if he wins the conference his total pay must be at least the third highest in the SEC, and if he wins the national title his total compensation for the year must be at least the third highest in all of Division I. This is notable because the USA Today shows him as having the sixth-highest total pay in the conference, not counting those relative pay kickers.

The rest of the contract is mostly bland legal stuff regarding conduct, buyouts, and everything else you’d expect in a contract. Attached after the contract, though, is a letter to Miles dated December 5, 2006 from former LSU Chancellor (and former NASA administrator) Sean O’Keefe announcing that the school would extend his contract. It concludes with:

“Congratulations on another successful season! Geaux Tigers!”

Only at LSU.

Selected Quotes:

“The UNIVERSITY agrees to pay COACH an annual salary of Three Hundred Thousand and No/00 ($300,000.00) Dollars, payable in twelve (12) equal monthly installments.”

This is an example of the odd phrasing of numerical values.

“COACH further acknowledges that he has no expectation of the granting of tenure by UNIVERSITY.”

I can’t recall a mention of tenure by other contracts. It makes sense, of course, not to give a coach tenure because then it would be impossible to fire him.

“Within ten (10) days of the expiration or termination of this agreement… COACH shall return to the UNIVERSITY all credit cards and keys issued to him by UNIVERSITY.”

Do coaches usually get to keep credit cards and keys? This is the kind of frivolous contract-padding that makes me think the lawyers got paid by the word. The document already established that anything LSU gives to him as a part of his job must be returned, so why do credit cards and keys warrant their own sentence?

Keys? Wait, where did I put my keys? Crap, someone frisk Perrilloux.