"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
Via everyone, the LSU AD:
“I am pleased to announce that Les Miles will remain the head coach at LSU."
It's coordinator-or-Hoke time.
First, there was no late-night meeting with Miles and LSU AD Joe Alleva or other high-ranking university officials in an effort to convince the coach to stay. After Miles’ meeting with Michigan AD Dave Brandon, Miles went home.
Part two: Adam Rittenberg reports via his Big 12 compatriot that Les Miles is not in Dallas despite being scheduled to speak at 3 PM. If he is taking the job, he would be at Michigan's scheduled meeting with the players at 4.
UPDATE: Flight tracking suggests that Miles isn't in Dallas yet but probably will be. This flight leaves essentially now:
For what it is worth, a twin prop is scheduled to go from Baton Rouge to Love field in Dallas at 11:12 CST. The plane is owned by a Med transport company, but is most likely chartered by LSU for the trip. Plane is making a 11 minute flight from Lafayette to Baton Rouge prior to the Dallas trip.
Either that or Les is flying American Eagle to DFW. Yeah right.
[HT to Kirk Fauri.] So… if the meeting gets moved that's a good sign. If it doesn't, not so much.
UPDATE II: LSU sources at their Rivals site and some local radio station are reporting Miles will stay at LSU. Radio is whatever but usually Rivals guys are plugged in. The Rivals stuff is currently paywalled, however, so its unclear how definitive that information is.
The love boat is not actually the Brandon plane but I can't help what people photoshop and send me
Dave Brandon's plane visited Baton Rouge last night and returned to Ann Arbor. Les Miles has a speaking engagement in Dallas at the AFCA convention. There's a players' meeting scheduled for 4 PM. The athletic department is pushing a contest where you—yes, you—can attend the historic press conference when Michigan's 19th head coach is named, something which will no doubt thrill and delight the assembled throng when you ask "how long is 35 seconds, Les? Is it 35 seconds? Please say it's 35 seconds."
What I'm saying is that today is the day we find out whether or not Les Miles is Michigan's head coach and then either get busy living with it or get busy dying as Dave Brandon flies to San Diego or Auburn or somewhere. As of about 9:30 AM on F5 day, I believe but can't confirm it will be the former. Les Miles will probably be Michigan's coach by the end of the day.
While it's possible this is all a rumor storm built from the obvious plane movement and obvious candidacy of Miles, there are many, many people saying it's a done deal ranging from Tiger Droppings posters to serious-seeming but not confirmed people in the inbox. Circumstantially, if Brandon met with Miles and didn't immediately return to Dallas—the place with more football coaches per capita than anywhere else in the world right now—or headed to some other place containing a coach of interest he's probably got his man. I can't imagine an athletic director not working around the clock on January 11th when he's got an open head coaching job and little time to fill it. A return to Ann Arbor should mean something is done.
While that could be Miles not working out and Brandon agreeing to a fallback plan with someone he met with in Dallas, I think it's Miles.
Debate about which plane is which is now moot because the one in Dallas is headed to Baton Rouge:
Brandon's likely on it, and that Tuesday meeting may start happening in about 45 minutes. News, yes or no, could come any time tonight. Light a candle.
The critical bit:
"I'm told that we will speak, that time and place has not been identified," said Miles, a former Wolverines assistant coach and player. "It's hard for me to speculate to the substance of the meeting."
That is a deeply weird statement, but this is Les Miles after all.
ALERT THE MEDIA… Er. Nevermind. I see you're on top of that.
Hello. How are you? Getting used to the idea that limbo is you permanent home? Thinking about buying a couch?
Miles-date. The Louisiana media details what they know about Miles's movements over the past couple days and where he'll be in the next couple:
Saturday morning, Miles flew from Dallas to Baton Rouge with the LSU team and official party, and was seen entering the LSU football complex.
Vincent said Miles is scheduled to fly back to Dallas on Tuesday, where he is slated to deliver a speech during the American Football Coaches Association convention. Miles is then scheduled to fly immediately back to Baton Rouge, Vincent said.
This would seem to blow up the rumor that Miles was actually in Ann Arbor over the weekend. Miles showing up in Dallas would be a convenient place for the Dominos plane edition of David Brandon* to interview Miles, if he hasn't already, and the News says they will talk then.
Local folk are asserting the end result is likely to be similar to last time according to the proverbial "person close to the situation":
"My impression is that he'd like to say 'No,' without saying 'No,'" he said. "He doesn't want to be on the list of people who turned him (Brandon) down."
Former Michigan recruit and LSU commit Trai Turner was pinged by the RBs coach, who told him "there wasn't anything to worry about" and added that "from everything else I hear, Coach Miles is staying," but they're always staying until they aren't. Miles is currently being battered by questions he won't answer at a press conference assembled to announce Patrick Peterson's departure for the NFL, so expect word of some evasive non-denials shortly.
Plane-date. So the plane above went to Baton Rouge and people said it was carrying organs and should not be paid attention to, then it went a bunch of places seemingly relevant to key players in the Michigan coaching search and then it went back to Baton Rouge and people were like "dude, this plane should be paid attention to." FWIW, I'm getting more emails about who or what is on that plane that say it shouldn't be paid attention to because its owner rented it out for three months. (Whoever rented it out must really love screwing with Michigan fans on the internet.)
It's uncertain if the thing actually is doing anything other than providing Baton Rouge TV stations with gold, Jerry, gold. The coincidence is a little much, but on the other hand if you were flying around the country trying to have clandestine conversations with a currently-employed college head coach you'd have to be epically stupid to do so in your blinged-out winged helmet learjet.
A not quite entirely pointless Gruden update. I'd completely forgotten about this but an emailer pinged me back in early December, stating that he was close to someone in the Gruden loop and that Michigan had contacted him to gauge interest in the job. The result was "strong" interest. I decided not to mention something seemingly so off the wall since Gruden comes up in literally every coaching search that happens and Rodriguez seemed like he'd have a job in 2011. But here we are.
That source updates by saying he can confirm Gruden has spoken with Brandon and there is still "interest." I'm not sure if this is Gruden's MO or a genuine candidacy. But he is the guy with the second-most buzz at the moment, behind Miles but seemingly ahead of Hoke or anyone else. As Jennifer Hammond suggested, take it with a grain of salt.
*[Ablauf on Brandon's location: "That's a good question. I'm on a need-to-know basis."]