Sunday, November 18, 2018


Matt Tait: Forget the rest, Les Miles hire is KU’s biggest victory in years

Newly hired University of Kansas football coach Les Miles speaks to the media Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at Hadl Auditorium.

Newly hired University of Kansas football coach Les Miles speaks to the media Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at Hadl Auditorium.


Les Miles is the new head football coach and Kansas and all anyone wants to talk about is if the partnership between the national champion known as “The Mad Hatter” and one of the longest suffering college programs in NCAA history is going to work.

There’s plenty of time to get to that. And we will in the coming hours, weeks, months and years.

But jumping to that question and talking today about bowl games and Big 12 contention that are, at best, a few years down the road, is skipping over the Jayhawks’ most recent football victory.

No, Kansas didn’t upset No. 6 Oklahoma on Saturday night; though they did cover the spread and, in the process, provide Miles with a nice glimpse of what he’s inheriting. And, no, I’m not talking about the TCU win on Oct. 27.

I’m talking about landing Miles in the first place.

When it comes to the biggest wins in program history, there are a few against Missouri, the Orange Bowl win over Virginia Tech in 2008, a couple of Sunflower Showdown wins and then hiring Miles.

This really is that big.

Twice this decade, Kansas football fans have both heard and uttered the phrase, “It can’t get any worse.”

And then it did.

Turner Gill was fired at 5-19 and Charlie Weis went 6-22 in the two-plus years that followed. After Weis was sent packing, David Beaty came in and sits at 6-41 heading into his final game as KU’s coach.

And that’s just the record issue. Fan apathy, recruiting woes and national irrelevance reached new heights with each hire.

Miles is here to put an end to that.

Forget breaking the cycle. How about breaking the excitement meter?

Podcast episode

The KU Sports Hour

Les Miles is really KU's next football coach

Moments after Kansas introduced Les Miles as the program's 40th head coach in team history, the KU Sports staff did an emergency podcast at Allen Fieldhouse. KU football reporter Benton Smith is joined by Matt Tait and Shane Jackson to discuss Miles' introductory press conference and where the Jayhawks go ...

Download podcast

First-year Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long did just that during the past couple of weeks, when he sought out and landed one of the biggest and most accomplished coaching candidates available in years.

But Les Miles is not just a big hire for the Kansas football program today. Miles is the biggest hire in the 100-plus-year history of the program. And it’s not particularly close.

The overwhelming national take is that this is a good move for Kansas, a no-brainer of sorts, given Miles’ reputation as a winner (114-34 at LSU) and the existence of that national championship ring he owns.

It’s the polar opposite to the national response that came following news of the Charlie Weis hire in 2011, which drew laughter and a, ‘Wait, you’re serious?’ response from most who cover college football.

Some are grumbling, of course. Kansas fans and a few national pundits. But they clearly don’t get it. Kansas football needed something like this. And Jeff Long delivered.

Now the heavy lifting begins.

Landing a big name with a sparkling resume from one of the best programs in college football does not fix anything overnight. And it certainly does not guarantee any number of victories.

The Kansas job is hard. There’s still a sizable hole to climb out of.

No one knows if this marriage is going to work. Not Miles. Not Long. Not anyone wearing a KU uniform. And especially not anyone who says they know.

And say all you want about how Kansas fans really only want to watch their team compete for bowl eligibility and see some fun and excitement return to Memorial Stadium on Saturdays. Maybe a few more fans, too.

But that’s bologna.

Long didn’t make this hire for a six-win season every couple of years. And Miles certainly didn’t take the job to go 6-6 every year.

Both of them believe Kansas can do better than that. If they didn’t, neither one would be here.

They might not be expecting Miles to add to his ring collection, but they’re not expecting to be average either.

Kansas is going for it. And who cares about whether the future shows that hiring Miles worked.

It works today. Big time. And KU football is relevant again. Just like that.


Chris Condren 2 years, 3 months ago

This is an important first step in rebuilding Kansas Football. Congratulations to Athletic Director Long for accomplishing this hire!

Joe Ross 2 years, 3 months ago

Great article, Matt, which is succintly expressed in the headline.

Never truer words written with respect to a program!

Gerry Butler 2 years, 3 months ago

from the bottom of my heart. - -Thank You Jeff - - where you been lol? - Again I'm not trying to slam Coach Beaty but just soo ready to return to prevalence - have people taking notice of KU football again in a positive way - -have recruits look at KU football again in a positive way - -get these recruits interested again - - - get fans back to the Stadium again - -then let's work on fixing up the place. -- ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

Eliott Reeder 2 years, 3 months ago

Doesn’t really mean a thing until he starts raking in the W’s, but I’m happy!

Steve Corder 2 years, 3 months ago

You are so wrong. This hire is huge, in and of itself.

Aaron Paisley 2 years, 3 months ago

Whether or not Miles ends up working out is different issue. This is a move that tells the B12 and college football in general that Kansas is serious about trying to build a winning program and culture which has not existed since before WWII in Lawrence.

Duane S Boor 2 years, 3 months ago

Hey Matt, can't WAIT(!) till you guys post you next KU Sports Hour Podcast over this. I hope it comes out sooner than later!

Michael Maris 2 years, 3 months ago

Hoping that Lance LeGendre will reconsider his earlier decision and recommit to Kansas Jayhawks.

Dale Rogers 2 years, 3 months ago

When KU football wins a game I spend a few hours reading about it the next day. Article after article. When we lose, I don't usually bother. But today I have spent my entire morning reading about yesterday's game and about Les Miles. I'm pumped both by what I saw in the game and by the hiring of Les Miles. I just wish I didn't live 1500 plus miles away so I could actually attend the games and not just watch them on TV and ESPN+/3.

Rick Glover 2 years, 3 months ago

Any thoughts or word on assistant coaches? Was Long's trip to Colorado Springs to look for a OC?

Randy Bombardier 2 years, 3 months ago

Excellent hire and words. Long got his guy. Long will do whatever Miles needs to be successful. He will get him his tools. This is the Weis hire, which smelled like a hail Mary. This is nothing like that.

Joseph Bullock 2 years, 3 months ago

Rich Glover, I’m not sure about Longs trip to Colorado, but it is my understanding that his trip to Dallas was to talk to a possible Assistant Coach! I hope it’s true, and that it works out. I’m also pretty sure that Hull will be retained-which is probably a no brained. I’m pretty sure Miles and Hull know each other, really well.

2 years, 3 months ago

did anybody listen to the presser..?! sounds like LM has dementia. he could barely answer half the questions! weis/zenger 2.0? hope not! 🤞 rcjh

Brian Wilson 2 years, 3 months ago

I hope Miles puts in his two cents and they scrap the refurb design for Memorial Stadium. I know the artwork showing it's new 350 million dollar concept looked great but what looks great isn't necessary what's needed. Rather than building the North endzone seats up they need to lower the field and make more money by bringing the seating down low and close in on the field. I don't mind squaring off the North but we can't fill the seats as it is now and money would be better spent taking care of the customers you have. Build new ramps and stairs throughout and add a little warmth to the concourses. Put in escalators off the concourse so older people can get to concessions without walking a mile to an elevator or having to climb 4 flights of stairs. it's hard to take grandparents to the game. Put in a few more benches for while you wait for your friends in the bathroom. And, add screens in more places so when you get out of your seat you don't miss the game.

Please stop and rethink of the fan. Get us closer to the game and field. Make the environment rock! Improve the stadium but give the fan more conveniences. To me building out is not the answer. Refurb, build, and improve in towards the action.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 3 months ago

Nice article Matt and the excitement is great though a bit over the top from some.

In the middle at first I thought you were mistakenly saying that we hired Les away from LSU and not just that his resume is from LSU. Kind of significant difference. LSU had already cast him aside and we hired him out of unemployment.

Hopefully a huge hat tip to Long because you would expect him to go to one of the more appealing programs. Brett- Were you the person that posted last week that there was no way we get Miles with the other options that were becoming available.

To end with the comment that KU football is again relevant simply because of the hire is pure journalism. People have things to write about for a moment. The rest of the world won't see us as relevant until the program is winning. And really the rest of the world won't find us relevant until we're ranked or at least influencing conference and national championships. It is the reason Coach Miles is here and not in the bayou.

Hopefully he can make KU football relevant for more than a moment in time.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 3 months ago

Ooops. Forgot. For my money, aside from the Orange Bowl and Reesing to Meier for the win in Arrowhead, we shucked the world is still my favorite W.

Dane Pratt 2 years, 3 months ago

He's got his work cut out for him. Before he can hit the recruiting trail he has to assemble a coaching staff. National signing day is not until February. Don't know how realistic it is to expect him to pull in some decent recruits by then.

Joe Joseph 2 years, 3 months ago

This really is a home run hire when you consider that Jeff Long was never going to be able to lure any of the big-time candidates away from their current jobs.

Every concern I've seen and heard regarding the hire has major holes.

It's Weis 2.0! Nope. Weis never had sustained success at the college level and never won with his own recruits -- Miles did both!

At 65, his heart won't be in it. Then why come back at all? Why not just collect your remaining buy-out from LSU (while pretending to look for a job) and retire?

At 65, he won't be coaching for long. He's in good health. I believe Glen Mason holds the longest tenure in KU football history at NINE years. If Miles is successful, and remains healthy, surely he could coach through age 74.

He's just going to move on to a more competitive program. A) That would be the concern for every hire. B) Then why not just wait and take a better job this year or next? I can't imagine other schools haven't been inquiring. And even if he does, won't that mean he will have turned KU into a competitor?

Eric Eakins 2 years, 3 months ago

The HIRE has certainly brought hope and enthusiasm to this KU family in Wichita. For the first time ever I watched the entire press conference. He said OC and DC are first and he's already had some opening discussions with candidates that were received well so that is exciting for the fact we need a recruiting team yesterday. I wish there had been a few other questions asked at the press do you change the perception that we are bball school only and do you get similar requests filled like Self in regards to new dorms and stadium improvements? Who was the best player on the field Saturday, Murray or Pooka and how is he going to bring a Murray like player to KU? Has his time off helped him evaluate the current state of college football and is he making adjustments to his own tendencies to run a program? Thank you Jeff Long for doing a great job.

Doug Wallace 2 years, 3 months ago

1st off I wish nothing but the best to our former coach Beaty sorry it didnt work out and you didnt get the results you, KU, and the fans needed! I sincerely hope and wish you find a place that you can find success in wherever you may land.

Ok with that being said ok now I say welcome aboard Coch Les Miles Big Rock Chalk Welcome to you!I found it awesome how you stated your first objective is to find good coordinators.That is one thing that sunk Beaty especially on offense the offensive coordinator.Getting that is the biggest key along with a good coach. Everyone should be excited and proud or new AD is taking charge in Academics first and of course athletics and making sure our sports are all taken care of.

Now I am going to agree with Brian Wilson on stadium stuff.Hey Lets get a winning team there and do whar Les needs us to do to get back to at least .500 and above first and foremost.

Ok this challenge goes to all Fans who claim to be KU Fans ok things have to change in terms of how you fans here care about KU sports we cannot no longer be the 1 trick pony everyone claims we are!I love Basketball and all the history with it dont get me wrong.But It is not just football or even Basketball look we have to support all of KU Sports look even if it just a tweet or online message support all KU Sports teams whether it is Tennis,Track,Baseball,Softball, swimming Football we got to stop being the 1 trick pony.It dont mean you got to go to every event and buy everything but follow them and even send tweets or send a nice online message to football or any of the other KU Sports teams.

Les Miles is a message and some of the things he has done that say hry he cares about all of KU Sports we should honor that and give support to all of KU Sports people

Good Luck Les and Rock Chalk!

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