Editor's note: Bryant. Vaught. Jordan. Dooley. Neyland. These are just a handful of the coaches (among many others) who have come to define the Southeastern Conference due to their dynamic personalities and remarkable success on the field. But who are the top coaches roaming the sidelines of SEC schools today? Ryan Black gives his take, counting down from 14-1. Today, the series moves on to No. 3.
3. Les Miles, LSU
Record: 123-45 overall (28-21 in four seasons at Oklahoma State from 2001-04; 95-24 in nine seasons at LSU from 2005-13; Went 10-3 overall last year and 5-3 in SEC play)
National championships: 1 (2007)
SEC championships: 2 (Won title in 2007 and 2011; lost in championship game in 2005)
SEC division titles: 3 (Western Division champions in 2005, 2007 and 2011)
LSU has gone 10-3 each of the past two seasons. And both years, that's qualified as a disappointment. That speaks volumes about how high the bar has been set in Baton Rouge.
Cite any number you want about Miles' nine years at the helm, and it's impossible not to be impressed. He's won at least eight games every year; each of the past five years, he's won nine or more. And perhaps the most impressive statistic is this: He's won 10-plus games in seven of his nine seasons.
To pull off that feat anywhere is spectacular; to do it in the nation's toughest conference, in an era in which it won seven consecutive BCS titles from 2006-12 (and played for another last year) is mind-boggling.
And to think some people believed the Tigers would fall off after Nick Saban left for the NFL following the 2004 season.
Simply put, Miles took a program that Saban returned to prominence and kicked it up a few notches.
Miles has built a recruiting machine, a program that seems incapable of winning fewer than 10 games regardless of how much talent it loses to the NFL each season. As such, the Tigers rightly should be considered legitimate contenders to win the national championship every year.
It's a testament to Miles' coaching ability, hard as "The Mad Hatter" is to figure out from time to time.