Michigan takes step to make Miles next Wolverines coach

LSU athletic director Skip Bertman confirmed Wednesday night through spokesman Herb Vincent that his Michigan counterpart, Bill Martin, has officially requested permission to speak with Les Miles about becoming the next coach of the Wolverines.

Bertman requested that the meeting not take place until after LSU plays Tennessee Saturday for the SEC championship. Martin told Bertman he will comply.

"We're trying to get the SEC championship game behind us that's
why we're scheduling these things for next week," Vincent said.

Miles played for Bo Schembechler at Michigan, where he met his wife and later became an assistant under Schembechler.

LSU will have its own meeting with Miles next week to make its pitch to keep Miles. Sources say Miles will be offered a sweetened deal.

LSU was not prepared to make a statement about the extent to
which the school was prepared to compete with Michigan's offer,
should one be made, Vincent said.

"We're just looking forward to the game Saturday and that's the
focus of the entire program right now, Saturday's game against
Tennessee," Vincent said.

Although formal discussions will wait for next week, a source close to the situation said Miles' agent, George Bass, was in Baton Rouge Wednesday meeting with LSU officials. The subject of those talks is unknown.

Miles has been at the center of speculation to be the next coach of the Wolverines since Lloyd Carr stepped down Nov. 19. The Michigan alum has carefully chosen his words when asked repeatedly about his interest in returning to his alma mater, but the one thing he has not done is say he is not a candidate.

Even though Miles appears in a great situation leading the
Tigers in a talent-rich area without a competing school nearby, LSU
was concerned enough about him bolting for Michigan that it put a
specific clause in his contract to make it an expensive move.

In the "termination by coach" section of his deal, Michigan is
the only other school mentioned. It states that Miles will not seek
or accept employment as Michigan's coach. If Miles does leave LSU
to coach the Wolverines, he must pay LSU $1.25 million.

LSU's national championship chase ended with an upset loss to Arkansas last Friday. That might have changed the timetable for negotiations with Michigan and freed up both sides to discuss the job sooner.

Martin, who has not commented on the search since Carr's
announcement, interviewed Michigan coordinators Ron English and
Mike DeBord earlier this week.

"We're not going to make any comments on the search," Michigan
spokesman Bruce Madej said Wednesday night.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.