Sunday, November 18, 2018

New KU football coach Les Miles wants to finish career with ‘championships’

Newly hired University of Kansas football coach Les Miles puts on a KU hat during a press conference Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at Hadl Auditorium.

Newly hired University of Kansas football coach Les Miles puts on a KU hat during a press conference Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at Hadl Auditorium.


Two weeks after Jeff Long first stood in Hadl Auditorium and detailed what he hoped to accomplish in his Kansas football coaching search, the first-year athletic director returned Sunday night with an old colleague in tow.

Just as the buzz throughout the past several days indicated he would, Long introduced Les Miles as KU’s 39th football coach, presenting his new high-profile employee with one of Miles’ signature white baseball caps — except this one came with a KU logo instead of LSU.

After thanking Long and KU’s chancellor, Douglas Girod, in his first public appearance as the Jayhawks’ head coach, Miles, who had been out of the industry since LSU fired him four games into the 2016 season, spoke of a brief five-minute introduction he made to KU’s players earlier in the afternoon and how that made it a “wonderful” day for him professionally.

“When I walked in, I saw that familiar smile, the enjoyment that they are having in college football,” Miles shared. “They're buddies, looking at each other like, ‘Who is this guy?’” he joked. “I enjoyed it greatly.”

At the press conference, Long, the man who sought out Miles and lured him to Lawrence with a five-year deal that will pay him $2.775 million a year, said turning the program over to Miles (142-55 in 15-plus seasons at LSU and Oklahoma State) “immediately and dramatically” improved the football program’s national profile.

“But more importantly, behind all this national recognition there's a leader that loves the game of football, believes in what the game does to build character in our young men, and has prepared men for life after football,” Long said of Miles, whom he first worked alongside at the University of Michigan in the 1980s. “His record of success on the field is only matched by his love for the student-athletes that play the game for him. The combination of a leader of young men, a detailed and driven football coach, a man with an infectious personality who cares deeply about the young men he coaches, will be a combination that will surely lead to breaking the cycle and bringing football success to the University of Kansas.”

Miles left LSU as the school’s second-winningest coach, going 114-34 overall, with a 7-4 record in bowl games. The Tigers averaged 10 wins a year and won more games from 2005 to 2015 than any other SEC program during that span. Following a 13-0 regular season in 2011, Miles was named National Coach of the Year by the Associated Press and others.

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 ...

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Prior to his time in Baton Rouge, La., Miles worked in Big 12 country, as the head coach at Oklahoma State, from 2001 to 2004. During his time there, the Cowboys went 28-21 and reached three bowl games, going 1-2.

A two-time conference title-winning coach in the SEC and a national champion during his 11-plus seasons at LSU, Miles left behind semi-retirement, and is now charged with reviving a staggering program that has failed to win more than three games in a season since 2009.

“I can tell you that I will promise to give you my sincerest efforts,” Miles asserted in front of an auditorium filled with reporters, television cameras, KU donors and various athletic department administrators, as well as his family — wife Kathy and daughters Smacker and Macy. Neither of Miles’ sons, Manny and Ben, were able to attend, as they were with their respective football teams. Manny is a backup quarterback at North Carolina and Ben plays fullback at Texas A&M.;

On the day he arrived in Lawrence, Miles, who has led two far more prominent programs, insisted his newest job is a “great” one.

“I think the fan base has reached out in any number of ways to make it clear that this is a special place,” Miles said, “and I would like to finish a career with championships. The guy sitting to my left (Long), that's who he is and that's who I am. So we would like that opportunity to continue and to play championship-style football.”

Whether KU will be able to attain that level of success remains to be seen. As of now, Miles is on board through the 2023 season.

Per his five-year deal, If another school were to lure Miles away from Kansas before his contract expires, or if Miles decided to terminate his employment with KU for another reason, the coach (or the hypothetical school that wants to sign him) would owe KU the remaining sum of the contract.

Should KU decide to fire Miles and terminate the contract without just cause, the university would owe the coach the sum of his money left on the deal.

Miles signed the contract on Friday.

KU’s new coach first visited Lawrence when he worked as an assistant at Colorado from 1982 to 1986, and came through as an assistant (1995-1997) and head coach (2001-2004) at Oklahoma State.

“We drove down into the stadium and I looked around and I said, ‘Man, it's beautiful.’ I said, ’It’s green, it is a spectacular place.’ I said, ‘Why aren't they more successful?’ And I promise you,” Miles added, “I looked at that and carried that thought with me as we went. I can tell you that as I researched this opportunity, I wanted to represent a school that had a great academic background. In other words, that they would offer to a student a great curriculum and an opportunity to graduate with a credential that would power their career.”

As incoming coach, Miles replaces outgoing fourth-year coach David Beaty, who will coach his final game on Friday, against Texas (11 a.m. kickoff).

Incentive payments in Les Miles contract:

• National championship game appearance - $1,000,000

• CFP game participant - $350,000

• New Year's 6 game participant - $100,000

• Other Bowl game - $75,000

• Big 12 Championship game appearance - $100,000

• Win 6 games in a season - one-year, one-time rollover extension

• Coach of the Year (AP, USA Today, Sporting News, Home Depot, AFCA) - $50,000

• Big 12 Coach of the Year - $50,000

• Broyles Award for Assistant Coach - $15,000

• Team GPA 2.65 or higher - $25,000

• Team GPA 2.75 or higher - $50,000


Michael Maris 2 years, 3 months ago

Watching the introduction press conference, he didn't seem to truly answer a good portion of the Press questions. And so, yeah, it seemed like he was either not very excited or truly wasn't focused on the questions being asked of him. That being said, I am over coaches who are trying to win the Press conferences. I'm more interested in the coaches who win ball games. I've put my faith in AD Long that with Les we fans get a whole lot more wins and satisfaction. Rock Chalk.

Brian Skelly 2 years, 3 months ago

Charlie Weis "won" the press conference and he was a mistake nearly from the jump.

Waylon Cook 2 years, 3 months ago

He didn't say things like #earnit or #neatdeal, clearly his mind is gone. Gtfo with that crap.

2 years, 3 months ago

What did Les Miles say?: 28:57 mumbles a response to a question about 'crowd support' 37:00 mumbles a response to a question about the 'air raid' (good riddance to that!) 42:50 doesn't know the name of one of the best top-5 players on the team. shows lack of studying/research or early indicator of DEMENTIA. Then, watch this for relative comparison:

Les Miles was an offensive lineman. Les Miles is 65 years old. Let's hope Les works out and has some good men on his side, because, it is a valid concern that this man might already have DEMENTIA. Don't confuse me for a hater. I am only being concerned and realistic. Hope this is proven wrong, but worth keeping an eye on in the months/years ahead. RCJH

Micky Baker 2 years, 3 months ago

Showing some sort of biased study that you call a "scientific study". hmmm. Where have we seen that before?

Tony Rains 2 years, 3 months ago

Why didn't a KU staffer give him the correct tie to wear? How hard is that? Poor Les. He doesn't know what's in store for him. I wish him all the success at bringing the football program back to relevance.

Brian Wilson 2 years, 3 months ago


I spent some time breaking down the roster going into next year. Of course some of our players could leave for any reason and some included in these numbers are just walk-on benchwarmers. Also, I only see one (Mane) of four players on the roster that were projected to be Blueshirts. I'm not sure what happened to those guys. But, It would be nice if someone could double check my analysis here. Here it is!!!:

From my count....KU has 40 Juniors that could return as 40 Seniors in 2019.
19 are transfers - 5 of which have already reshirted.
21 are 4 year recruits or walk-ons and are not transfers - 9 of these redshirted.
So 14 out of the 40 are not eligible to redshirt late.
But, 26 players could potentially redshirt their senior year and graduate instead two years from now.

KU could have as many as 22 Sophomores returning as Juniors in 2019.
4 are transfers but none have ever redshirted>br> 8 have redshirted but are not transfers
14 could possibly redshirt and graduate in three years instead of two.

KU could have 30 Sophomores returning in 2019.
16 of these potential Sophomores have redshirted.
14 of the Sophomores could be eligible to reshirt.


My analysis, this kind of confirms some of my previous statements from over four years ago that no coach in their right mind you take the KU job unless he was desperate. That Beaty was the only coach that would take the job and he was hired as a puppet to fill the roster and maybe just maybe in the end keep the job. Plus this made the timing right. First the AD, then Beaty got his fourth year of recruiting and being coach. So Beaty did what he was hired for: 4 years of recruiting and being inter-rim coach. Why not let him go out in style coaching out the year plus he got a pretty good payday.

Now, next year, Miles gets to recruit 15, redshirt some upperclassman, rebalance the roster and then in year 2 recruits a big class of 25. By the time Pooka hits Senior year KU should have a large Senior Class with zero transfers! (as of now) and a solid Junior and Sophomore class to fill the holes. And IMO, it would appear that Beaty has done what he was hired for, and did KU a big favor and set the table for the future. Is that too much of a conspiracy theory? lol

Randy Bombardier 2 years, 3 months ago

I've looked at the stadium surroundings myself with the same thoughts and more. KU's history, history of Lawrence, Bleeding Kansas, John Brown, the Abolitionists of New England and their ties to Kansas, what a noble birth in a beautiful setting. Yes, KU ought to be successful because it is special. I'm such a homie.

Robert Brock 2 years, 3 months ago

Find some kids who can block and tackle and we’re going to be OK.

Rick Glover 2 years, 3 months ago

More or Les this is the best hire we could have gotten. I hope he will go the extra Miles for us.

Dane Pratt 2 years, 3 months ago

He doesn’t need a championship to complete his resume. If he is able to turn this program around and just make us competitive, that in itself would be an achievement.

Doug Roberts 2 years, 3 months ago

I'll settle for an undefeated record against div II schools at this point. That's a championship of sorts for this program!

Then we can talk about bowl games, and then championships...

Brian Skelly 2 years, 3 months ago

The reality is, this is a good hire for both sides.

If Miles takes us to a bowl game it's worth it.    If it's multiple bowl games, it's well more than paid for itself.

I view it somewhat like Mizzou hiring Larry Smith eons ago.    It wasn't a long term thing,  but it set the program up for success it had under Pinkel.    If in 5 years we've gone to a few bowl games (or more) and The Mad Hatter decides to retire,  the program will be in a far better position than it is now.

It can't be worse than we've had for a decade folks.    We're at the bottom of the barrel.   We've had teams that wouldn't be able to compete in the MAC.   My guess is that this might finally turn that part around anyhow.    Which is progress.

Larry McGlinn 2 years, 3 months ago

I think hiring Long was all about hiring Miles. Hope he was just having a bad day at the press conference.

Michael Sillman 2 years, 3 months ago

I’m very excited by this hire but It will be interesting to see what Miles does on the offensive side of the ball. Does he bring in a more wide open independent offensive coordinator or does he do it mostly himself with smash mouth running. A lack of point production appears to have cost him the LSU job along a stubborn streak.

Brad Watson 2 years, 3 months ago

After seeing the press conference....I believe that he looked like a washed up old coach.....his stay will be short ....he did not seem to have his act together....surprising hire....head scratcher for sure....the hire makes no sense....a few in here are excited...buzzing around....I feel no excitement....I did feel anticipation of good things ahead...but after the press conference....well .....he acted very strange....almost like the hiring process wore him out....what happens when he has to work 80 hours a week getting recruits?...washed up...he may not even last 1 year.

Tony Rains 2 years, 3 months ago

Les has a HUGE rebuilding job at KU. One signed recruit for next year and the February signing period coming up! Wow! Good luck Les!

Patrick Bryant 2 years, 3 months ago

What's wrong with the majority of you people? Our players deserve more than all this nonsense. Press conference, press conference, we're talking press conference, not a game, not a game.

Jim Keen 2 years, 3 months ago

Agree Patrick. All of this negative talk is totally counterproductive. Do we really think AD Long would have hired him if he were not mentally fit? I sure hope our new coach is not readying this stuff. We need him to feel the full support of our Jayhawk fan base.

Brad Watson 2 years, 3 months ago

AD Long is trying to increase season ticket sales...I get it.......he needed a big name to accomplish that ...He will probably succeed at that short term...we all want things to get competitive next fall...Miles just did not show the emotion and excitement that I would expect from someone who was given another chance...what I saw was nothing like that....I saw a coach ....who is not capable to rebuild our sad program....he will be lazy...he is already making millions...and after 3 years of losing football..he will be gone and so will AD Long....I was not a Beaty fan at all...but I would rather have him than the guy I saw at the press conference...very unimpressed ...a old washed up coach....that is what I saw ...I hope a year from now when I look back at this post...I hope I am totally wrong.

Brian Wilson 2 years, 3 months ago

I hope you are wrong. That was what I was afraid of but changed my mind after thinking that Miles would probably not want to do that to a friend - Long or the KU and the students. Let't hope you are wrong.

Doug Wallace 2 years, 3 months ago

Lets just start 1st with getting to a .500 season 1st then we will discuss miving up from there!

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