Thursday, November 8, 2018

Report: Les Miles and KU have spoken about football job

FILE - LSU head coach Les Miles ponders a reporter's question's following an NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. Mississippi won 38-17. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

FILE - LSU head coach Les Miles ponders a reporter's question's following an NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. Mississippi won 38-17. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)


More smoke emerged Thursday from the Les Miles to Kansas hype train.

According to a report from Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, the former LSU and Oklahoma State head coach has spoken with unnamed officials at KU about the football program’s head coach opening. Plus, “there seems to be mutual interest between the parties.”

From the day KU Athletic Director Jeff Long announced he won’t retain current head coach David Beaty past the end of this season, Miles has been considered one of the top candidates for Long, who has known Miles approximately three decades, dating back to when both men worked at the University of Michigan.

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As the Kansas football program moves on from head coach David Beaty, and athletic director Jeff Long zeroes in on the team’s next leader, KU football reporter Benton Smith is joined by Matt Tait and Shane Jackson to discuss the timing of the move, coaching candidates and much more.

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Miles hasn’t coached a game since LSU fired him four games into the 2016 season. But he owns a 142-55 career coaching record and led LSU to a national championship following the 2007 season.

When Long answered questions about the coaching change on Sunday, the AD said he heard from parties reaching out to express interest in the job mere hours after announcing the move.

But the KU AD also stated he didn’t have a “frontrunner” in mind at that point, while he planned to seek out an experienced head coach capable of building a program.

Miles’ reported $9.6 million buyout from LSU in 2016 included a stipulation that he must seek another college coaching job.

Not speaking of Miles’ situation, but of gauging candidates’ interest in general, Long said Sunday, “You know, the challenge there is reading through who is trying to leverage their current position and those who are truly interested in the KU program. That’s a challenge that I have before me, trying to wade through those people who express interest and whether that interest is real.”

As Long alluded in his press conference earlier this week, Dodd reported sources indicated to CBS Sports that KU plans to “pay a commensurate salary for the right candidate,” as well as to improve the staffing of the entire football program.


Dennis Strick 3 years, 7 months ago

I have a strong feeling that our next head coach is vectoring for Mt. Oread as we speak.

Curtis Hedrick 3 years, 7 months ago

"Roger, Roger. What's our Vector, Victor....." (Airplane movie)

Jerry Walker 3 years, 7 months ago

"a stipulation that he must seek another college coaching job."

Every writer on the LJW staff has repeated this line in every story AD NAUSEAM...with no explanation about the context.

Would someone do a reporter' job and find out the particulars of the buyout? What if he fails to look for a job? What if he seeks a job but is turned down? What if he is offered a job but turns it down? What happens to the buyout if he accepts another job?

Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months ago

RE: "Would someone do a reporter' job and find out the particulars of the buyout? What if he fails to look for a job? What if he seeks a job but is turned down? What if he is offered a job but turns it down? What happens to the buyout if he accepts another job?"

Miles' buyout structure with LSU was a 9.9M settlement to be paid out over 6 years, meaning he would receive 1.65M per year. He was fired in '16-'17, but he received 3M that year in salary, so presumably his buyout began in '17-'18. Depending on when the buyout is triggered, he may have also been paid for '18-'19 already. I don't know this, but it seems reasonable and I'll do more checking. If this is the case, then Miles' 9.9M buyout has been reduced to 6.6M, which makes him affordable.

Now let's consider the timing of a return to coaching for Miles, and how that might affect schools' willingness to hire him. If Miles returns too soon, the buyout is too high. If he sits out too long, his ability to keep pace with a changing game might be questioned. Also, Miles is advancing in age, which would tend to make schools shy away, and instead look at young up-and-coming coaches who wouldn't cost so much. So in my mind we are entering a "Goldilocks Zone" if 2 years have been paid out by LSU.

So who picks up the tab for the remaining balance owed if Miles is hired?

"It is unclear whether the buyout provision will terminate if Miles is hired again, though it likely will. Many standard contracts contain a covenant that terminates a buyout IF A NEW CONTRACT MORE THAN THE BUYOUT AMOUNT IS SIGNED. Miles said this afternoon on a talk radio show he plans to coach again."

--The Business Report

Here is where it gets sweet for Kansas and Miles, and why Miles might be lured here. If the above applies to Miles' buyout, and if Long is shrewd enough to sign Miles to a contract for less than 6.6M, Miles could continue to receive both his buyout from LSU and his new salary from Kansas. This makes Miles less expensive (benefit to Kansas) and nearly doubles Miles annual income (benefit to Miles). Hiring Miles at 6.5 over 4 years would give him 13.1M over that time in combined financial earnings.

Here's some perspective, however. Saban will earn 7.5M in 2018, and his salary could jump to almost 8M next year. By comparison, Saban's earnings would dwarf Miles'. But consider again that returning to coaching is still a huge benefit financially for Miles, as it doubles his salary. Also, we're comparing the job at Alabama to the job at Kansas. There is going to be some difference. I think Kansas might still be able to offer incentives that don't count against the base of the contract, causing it to exceed the buyout provision from LSU, while still allowing Miles to make more than the 13.1M without having the LSU buyout be pulled out from under him like a rug.

Just my guess.

Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months ago

Improving the staffing: we should go all-in there, too. Let Miles bring in his own guys, but consider Mangino back (for some toughness), retaining Tony Hull (for recruiting), and some names that bring a combination of intelligence, recruiting ability, and name recognition to show that we're serious about football...and tell Miles we're willing to pay for them.

David Klamm 3 years, 7 months ago

There is no more Mangino and there will never be any more Mangino. Miles doesn't need Mangino for toughness and Mangino was an awful recruiter and doesn't get along well with others. He got fired at his last job as offensive coordinator for ISU after they lost to, guess who, Kansas. This doesn't mean I don't appreciate what he did at KU, but nobody is knocking down Mangino's door for a reason.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 3 years, 7 months ago

Being that Miles coached at LSU and won a championship there, and Tony’s done a great job recruiting there, retaining Tony Hull would be a no brainer.

Brett McCabe 3 years, 7 months ago

It's possible you could see Hull promoted to OC.

David Robinett 3 years, 7 months ago

Six out of 10 Big Ten schools already recruit Texas so we need somebody who can recruit Louisiana Kansas Missouri and other territories. That’s what’s good about taking Miles or Fritz. Dave Doreen would at least revive the Kansas Missouri and MAC country recruiting.

Chris Baker 3 years, 7 months ago

Is anyone from KUSports at the Lawrence airport waiting for the scheduled flight from Baton Rouge tonight? It's public info, the plane is currently delayed (likely due to weather) but the flight has been logged with the FAA, and it's not carrying Jeff Long, who already arrived back in Lawrence from Dallas earlier today. Also interesting, the jet that is delayed in Baton Rouge was also in Dallas earlier today...

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 7 months ago

His resume is less impressive then Turner Gill's resume. I believe he has played four ranked opponents in his entire coaching career and is 0-4. There are a lot of reasons not to go after Monken.

Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months ago

Since you asked my personal opinion. He'd be 3rd on my list. Right behind Miles (1st) and Doeren (2nd). Monken's got the chops to turn the program around. Absolutely. If I had one concern about him, it would be the lack of experience at the P5 Conference level. This is the big league in college football. That being said, lack of experience does not imply failure. Still, coaching outside of a P5 conference might cause some to draw comparisons to Turner Gill, though I don't see Monken in that light. Monken is legit. But like everything else, perception is key. Particularly, perception among the boosters and the recruits. I mean we have to remember: we're not just considering Monken in a vacuum. We're naturally comparing him to Les Miles and other candidates. Miles makes the bigger splash with boosters, no doubt. Wallets open. AS IN RIGHT NOW. The reality is that a quality coach AND money are both key components to the fix of Kansas football, and Miles has the name. Of course splashy names don't always lead to victories (cue Charlie Weis). Nevertheless, there is an effect on recruiting as well, and if Les Miles walks into a kid's living room, his parents are gonna be on the edge of their seat the whole time he's there. He is, after all, a National Championship winning coach, which counts for a lot. I also think you have to consider that Miles is from the South, a hotbed of football recruits, and he knows that area. For these reasons, I think if you bring Miles in the turnabout has a chance to happen much more quickly. But there is no question in my mind that if things went Monken's way, he would acquit himself well at Kansas and his name would become a brand over the course of time. But for me, Les Miles should be the coach most heavily pursued. The fact that he's even interested in Kansas is a gift that has fallen out of the sky from Heaven.

Doug Wallace 3 years, 7 months ago

I would love Miles as KUs next head coach!

Jack Hoff 3 years, 7 months ago

Thank you Chris! KU is not in a position to tell a top class college football coach he ain't qualified enough for this job. That's outrageous. If he says he wants it then that should pretty much be the end of the conversation.

Jim Stauffer 3 years, 7 months ago

I would doubt there is any way Miles can draw salary at KU and at LSU without some chicanery involved. I do not believe KU would participate in such. I see this as the perfect test of whether Miles wants to coach again. KU offers a 5 year contract at 3 mil per year which in my opinion negates the LSU payout and puts Miles completely on our payroll. This is more than he is making now but if he prefers to take the 1.65 mil per year and do commercials he would refuse. If he wants to coach he would accept. It seems as simple as that to me.

Joe Black 3 years, 7 months ago

Its not chicanery if it is all done within the boundaries of the agreement. If the agreement has "holes" in it, that is shame on LSU and someone would be a fool not to take advantage of it.

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 7 months ago

You mean like Charlie Weis while at KU? Did you know Charlie Weis was paid even longer by KU then by ND.

Joe Black 3 years, 7 months ago

If we can't get Doreen then Miles is probably our best choice. Although I think it would be interesting to have Monken because of the total contrast to the styles of the rest of the Big 12.

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 7 months ago

I personally believe Leach has always been the best choice for KU. At the time Turner Gill was Hired and now at this point. He has Big XII experience, he has offensive minded goals, he can recruit Texas, he has rebuilt two programs TT and WSU, the list goes on.

Les Miles is a solid Choice.

David Doeren is a homer choice, but won't happen because of logistics.

Than I think there are a handful of others that really could make things happen.

John Sheppard 3 years, 7 months ago

No announcement will come till after the K.U./K-State game if anyone is hired. We have a chance of winning that game and don't need any distractions.

Steven Haag 3 years, 7 months ago

I remember MANY, MANY positive posts when Weis was hired. Big name with some success at Notre Dame. You can win games being a mediocre coach when you coach for a big name get 5 star recruits. Les may be a real good coach, but let’s not jump on the bandwagon too soon. Second point: Texas was all excited with Herm and look what happened to him in year one......and that’s with big time recruits. This is KU. It will take more than one year, maybe 3 or 4 years just to get us a .500 record

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