After two losing seasons at the University of Kansas, it wasn’t the lack of victories that led to Les Miles’ demise, rather sexual harassment allegations from his past ultimately cost the Jayhawks’ head football coach his job, as KU announced late Monday night Miles’ time with the program was over.
KU described it as a “mutual” parting of ways, in a release, which comes on the heels of Miles’ alleged sexual harassment scandal when he was the coach at LSU finally reaching the light of day.
With Miles out of the picture, offensive coordinator Mike DeBord will remain the Jayhawks’ acting head coach until an interim head coach is determined.
“This is certainly a difficult day for me and for my family,” Miles stated in KU’s release. “I love this university and the young men in our football program. I have truly enjoyed being the head coach at KU and know that it is in a better place now than when I arrived. To our (players), I want you to remember that you came to play for KU and earn a degree here. So, I implore you to stay and build on what we started and do all of the things we talked about doing together. There is a bright future for all of you and for KU Football.”
Under scrutiny since reports surfaced in recent weeks of Miles’ covered up alleged misconduct when he was a national championship-winning coach at LSU, KU severed ties with Miles just three days after Athletic Director Jeff Long’s decision to place Miles on administrative leave.
Details of the agreement are to be released in the coming days, KU announced, while the athletic department makes a “national search” for a new head coach.
“I am extremely disappointed for our university, fans and everyone involved with our football program,” Long stated in a release. “There is a lot of young talent on this football team, and I have no doubt we will identify the right individual to lead this program. We will begin the search for a new head coach immediately with an outside firm to assist in this process. We need to win football games, and that is exactly what we’re going to do.”
In what proved to be Miles’ final season at KU, the Jayhawks went 0-9 during a pandemic shortened season, a year after going 3-9 in Miles’ first year in charge. Miles, who finished 114-34 in his 11-plus years at LSU and 28-21 as the head coach at Oklahoma State, ran out of time with the Jayhawks before he could turn the downtrodden program around.
More allegations that Miles “attempted to sexualize” football student employees when he was the head coach at LSU were made public this past Friday, when LSU published its Husch Blackwell report.
According to that report, after LSU lost the 2012 national title game, Miles allegedly “attempted to sexualize” the football program’s student staff, allegedly stating he wanted “blondes with the big boobs” and “pretty girls.” Husch Blackwell reported that such remarks were corroborated by several witnesses during its review.
According to the report, one LSU student employee in the football department was described as “completely traumatized” when asking for assistance in confronting Miles with allegations.
Miles denied any inappropriate behavior, according to the report. He also denied allegations that surfaced from a separate report in 2013 that were published for the first time this past week, which included an account of LSU reprimanding Miles after a female student employee in the athletic department alleged that Miles kissed her when the two were together in his vehicle and suggested they visit a hotel together.
Efforts by the Journal-World to reach Miles through his wife, Kathy, were not immediately successful following the announcement.
A source with knowledge of the situation told the Journal-World that many KU players were upset to learn of Miles’ departure during a meeting late Monday night.
Husch Blackwell noted there was no record of reports of sex discrimination in LSU’s files, nor record of those reports being investigated.
Another part of the Husch Blackwell report revealed that then-LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva recommended Miles be fired for cause in 2013 following LSU’s internal investigation into the allegations. Alleva pointed to Miles’ “inappropriate behavior” and said he was putting LSU and the football program “at great risk.”
Long hired Miles to take over the struggling KU football program in November of 2018, a little more than two years after LSU fired Miles four games into the 2016 season — for on-the-field results, not off-the-field misconduct. Miles signed a five-year contract with KU that could have potentially kept him with the program through the 2023 season.
Miles coached LSU from 2005 to 2016, winning the 2007 national title.
His career, which appears to be over, finished with Miles’ coaching record at 145-73.