John Chavis turned down a significant raise at LSU to take less money at Texas A&M, according to documents obtained by Ross Dellenger of the Baton Rouge Advocate. Dellenger reports Tigers head coach Les Miles offered Chavis a three-year contract worth a total of $5.4 million – an average of $1.8 million per year, before incentives – the night of LSU’s Music City Bowl loss to Notre Dame on Dec. 30 of last year, but Chavis had decided weeks before to end his six-year run as LSU’s defensive coordinator.
The contract would have paid Chavis $1.7 million in 2015 and risen $100,000 annually, in a deal that would have made him the highest-paid coordinator in college football. (Instead, Auburn’s Will Muschamp holds that title at $1.6 million annually.) Chavis signed a three-year contract at Texas A&M paying him $1.5 million in 2015, $1.55 million in 2016 and $1.6 million in 2017.
Of course, no one is throwing a pledge drive for a football coach that chose to be just the second-highest paid coordinator in the country, but it highlights the level of discord between Chavis and LSU athletics director Joe Alleva.
At the center of the two men’s disagreement was the “Miles clause,” a term in each LSU assistant’s contract that allows the school to terminate his contract in the event the Tigers’ head coach leaves the school.
Chavis was promised by Miles when hired that his contract at LSU would “mirror that of his contract with Tennessee and rollover automatically every year,” the documents say. As a result of that agreement, Chavis turned down other jobs, he claims in the documents.
Miles, Chavis and Alleva were expected to meet in “early December” to discuss the contract dispute, but the athletic director never showed, documents say.
“Alleva advised Miles that he was busy and that Chavis had a contract on his desk,” the filings say.
LSU says Chavis owes his former employer a $400,000 buyout. Chavis, in turn, contends he is owed $445,000 in penalty wages and $205,000 in unpaid vacation and bonuses.
So now the beef will be decided in an East Baton Rouge Parish court. And then again in the court of the gridiron, on Nov. 28 at Tiger Stadium.