Oklahoma State gave Les Miles some anxious days before finally giving him the one job he wanted most.
Miles was hired Wednesday as Oklahoma State's football coach, ending a wild week in which the job first was accepted by the leading candidate and then rejected hours later.
In taking the job, Miles turned down a financial package worth about $700,000, saying nearly half should go toward assistant coaches' salaries. He said he would be happy with $400,000.
"I've never heard of that before," said athletic director Terry Don Phillips.
Miles, 47, who has been tight ends coach with the Dallas Cowboys the past three years, said he applied for just one job.
"I wanted to remove all doubt in the people that would make the decision where I wanted to be," he said. "I wanted to be one place - right here."
Miles served as Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator from 1995-97. During the '97 season, the Cowboys went 8-4 and played in the Alamo Bowl - their only winning season and bowl trip since 1988.
He takes over for his former boss, Bob Simmons, who was forced out after a third straight losing season and the fifth in his six years at OSU.
"I would not be here if I didn't think that we could win and win consistently," Miles said.
Boise State coach Dirk Koetter emerged as the top choice of Phillips, and on Friday accepted the job. But Koetter called back only hours later to say he was taking the job at Arizona State.
Miles said he was disappointed to be passed over the first time. But during the day Friday, he said, other Dallas assistants told him they were hearing that Oklahoma State's deal with Koetter might fall through.
"By Friday night at 6:30, I knew that this was not a done deal," Miles said.
He traveled to Tampa with the team on Saturday and found out from his wife after returning to Dallas on Sunday that Phillips had called. The men met Monday in Dallas, where an agreement was reached.
Miles said salary was not an issue.
"I have never in my life taken a job for a buck, ever," he said. "I have only wanted to service the people who I work for. I told him in the first interview, 'I will not negotiateI will take the job.'"
Miles' hiring went over well with several Oklahoma State players who attended Wednesday's news conference.
"He's loyal to the program," tailback Reggie White said. "We don't want a coach who had two or three options. We wanted a coach who only wanted to be here."
Quarterback Aso Pogi agreed.
"You always want somebody who wants to be in a program," he said. "This is his passion. This is where he wants to be."
Miles has served on staffs under such coaches as Bill McCartney at Colorado and Bo Schembechler at Michigan. He also played for Schembechler at Michigan from 1972-75.
Miles takes over a program that, in terms of talent, is in better shape than when Simmons was hired in 1995. But it's also a program that has had just one winning season since 1988. The Cowboys finished 3-8 this year, 1-7 in the Big 12.
Miles said the administration has demonstrated a commitment to turning things around. Phillips wants to renovate the stadium, and work is wrapping up on a $54 million athletic center that includes new offices for coaches, a new weight-training facility and an academic center.
"The leadership here has removed the limits," Miles said. "The view is up and going. Let's raise it, let's do it, let's take this program forward.
"Had there been any other feeling here, we wouldn't be back."
©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
© 2000 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.