Though Les Miles could be seen wearing the purple and gold colors of his former employer, LSU, this past weekend at a charity event in Metairie, La., the head football coach spent much of his time sharing his thoughts on what he hopes to build at the University of Kansas.
At Tyrann Mathieu’s Kickball Classic to support his former LSU player and roll out a ceremonial first pitch, Miles informed reporters about his objective for a KU program that has struggled mightily in the Big 12 for nearly a decade.
“The expectations are that we will win and not be bashful to tell people that our view is winning football,” Miles told The Advocate. “We’ve got some good players. There’s some good news.”
Miles, of course, got to learn much about many members of his first KU team during practices and scrimmages in March and April.
“The team that we took to the field with in the spring was really good,” Miles said at the charity event. “You’ll have to be a very fine football team to beat us.”
While Miles coached some highly successful teams at LSU during his 11-plus years in Baton Rouge, La., the Kansas football program has posted double-digit wins just three times in its entire history. The Jayhawks have finished with a losing record in 10 consecutive seasons.
According to what Miles told The Advocate, changing the culture with KU football has been the biggest challenge for him and his staff.
“If the culture flips, if they become successful,” Miles said, “the thing can take off.”
When KU opens its season Aug. 31 against Indiana State, it will mark Miles’ first game coaching a game since his LSU finale, on Sept. 24, 2016.
LSU fired Miles after a 2-2 start to the Tigers’ season that year. He finally resurfaced as a coach this past November, when KU hired The Mad Hatter to try and resurrect a program that went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl in the same 2007 college football season that concluded with Miles and LSU winning the national championship.
“It’s exactly what I wanted to do,” Miles said of returning to coaching. “I knew it wasn’t going to work, me not doing football. I enjoy taking a team to the field, watching them improve and watching them play. It’s what I do.”
Miles will be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame on June 8.