LSU signs Miles through 2012

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU head football coach Les Miles signed a contract extension Thursday to keep him at the university through 2012 and end speculation that Miles might leave for a job at the University of Michigan.

"I'm thrilled to be here. I'm thrilled to be LSU's head coach. I'm thrilled to be on the campus," Miles told the LSU Board of Supervisors before signing the deal.

"I look forward to many years as the LSU head coach," he added.

The contract extension requires approval of the full governing board, which is expected to be a formality when the board meets Friday. The board's athletic committee approved the extension Thursday with nearly all board members present.

The agreement doesn't change Miles' salary, which will already rise to at least $2.8 million annually based on LSU's Southeastern Conference championship this year. An SEC championship win requires Miles' salary to be at least the third highest in the conference.

If LSU wins the national championship, the contract provides Miles would become among the nation's top-earning college football coaches, no less than the third highest-paid. University officials estimate that would put his annual earnings between $3.2 million and $3.5 million -- but that could grow depending on contract negotiations with other coaches around the country.

LSU (11-2) faces Ohio State (11-1) in the Allstate BCS Championship Game on Jan. 7 at the Louisiana Superdome.

Just before his team played Tennessee in the SEC championship game on Dec. 1, Miles effectively stopped predictions he would bolt Baton Rouge for Michigan, announcing his intention to remain at LSU. Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr announced his retirement in November.

Miles wouldn't talk about the speculation that had dogged him for the past weeks about a return to Michigan, where he played, worked as an assistant coach and met his wife.

LSU officials praised Miles' coaching, his straightforwardness and his integrity.

"He told the people in this room he wasn't going to Michigan, and he never was. He never leveraged it," said LSU athletic director Skip Bertman.

During his three years at LSU, Miles has amassed impressive statistics that set records at the university. His overall record of 33-6 is the best three-year span in LSU history, and his 14 wins over teams ranked in the top 25 is a school record, said Bertman.

His wins in conference rivalries also set records.

"He's the only coach in LSU history to defeat Florida, Auburn and Alabama in one season," Bertman said. "But he's done it twice."

Miles also deflected concerns about the distractions the uproar over his tenure at LSU may have caused, saying he and his team were focused on the championship game.

"I can promise you we're at the task at hand," he said.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press