LSU athletic director Joe Alleva expressed regret Friday over not commenting on Les Miles’ status while speculation about the 11th-year football coach’s job security was rampant.
Alleva also acknowledged making “inquiries” about possible replacements for Miles while No. 23 LSU was in the midst of three straight double-digit losses to Southeastern Conference opponents, but said he did so only out of due diligence and never began negotiations with any candidates.
“You have to evaluate and see how can we do things better,” Alleva said. “After doing our due diligence and evaluating our program, we came to the conclusion that Coach Miles is the right man for the job and we are going to back him 100 percent and support him and help him win at the highest level.”
Alleva held a meeting with selected reporters in Baton Rouge on Friday afternoon and a transcript was provided to The Associated Press.
“That’s my job to look at options. It’s called due diligence. That’s what athletic directors do,” Alleva said. “The key is moving forward. Les is our guy, he’s our coach and we are going to support him to the tilt.”
Alleva, who stressed repeatedly that Miles has his full support, as well as the support of LSU President F. King Alexander, had cited his standard policy on not commenting on coaches’ job status, regardless of what kind of season they are having, until after the season. Alleva finally broke his silence the night LSU closed out its regular season with a victory over Texas A&M to snap its skid and improve to 8-3, and 5-3 in the SEC. But Alleva said he should have considered speaking out earlier, given the intense speculation surrounding Miles, which upset a number of fans and brought criticism upon the university.
“In retrospect, I should have said something,” Alleva said. “We should have communicated better during that period of time. I was hearing so much, but it was just speculation.”
Alleva said he has a good working relationship with Miles and that, together, they are seeking ways to improve the football program, which is consistently ranked but has lost five straight to SEC West power Alabama, as well as two straight to Arkansas and two of its last three to historical rival Mississippi.
But Alleva said he did not intend to pressure Miles to make changes on his coaching staff.
“I would never tell a coach who their assistant coaches are. I am not going to tell Les who his coaches are,” Alleva said. “That’s his responsibility. That’s his job.
“People get hung up on personnel changes,” Alleva added. “I still believe people can change and they can change the way they do things. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change personnel. You can change how that person does things. Les has been committed to me that he understands that there has to be some changes.”
AP College Football website: http://www.collegefootball.ap.org