Thursday, September 6, 2018


Tom Keegan: Les Miles has 30-year connection to Kansas

LSU head coach Les Miles is carried off the field after an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. LSU won 19-7. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

LSU head coach Les Miles is carried off the field after an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. LSU won 19-7. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)


The early scouting report that I received on first-year Kansas athletic director Jeff Long included high marks for hiring football coaches in stealth fashion, so don’t necessarily take his decision not to fire David Beaty after the coach’s egregious mismanagement of the overtime loss to Nicholls State as inaction on the AD’s part.

For all we know, Long’s people could be talking to Les Miles’ people as you’re sipping your coffee and grousing about the rain.

Such talks take time to hammer out details, such as salary and buyout terms. Coaches aim for high pay. The school tries to negotiate a high buyout figure in the event the coach wants to bolt.

Consider what Long already has done in regards to the football mess before wondering why he hasn’t done more. In his first move, Long hired Mike Vollmar to oversee the football program.

Vollmar has worked for the football programs of Tennessee, Michigan (twice), Alabama, Michigan State and Syracuse.

Vollmar worked for Michigan as recently as 2012, but it was the timing of his first stretch in Ann Arbor that gives the Miles-to-Kansas angle a flicker of credibility. Vollmar worked in recruiting and administration from 1988 through 1990 under Michigan head coaches Bo Schembechler and Gary Moeller. Miles coached the Wolverines’ offensive line from 1987 through 1994. Not only that, Long and Miles have known each other for the same length of time. Long was assistant athletic director at Michigan from 1988-98.

Do the math. Miles has known Long and Vollmar for 30 years. Ask yourself this question: If it’s to the benefit of you and someone you have known for 30 years to keep a secret, do you think you would have any problem doing so?

It’s more than a little surprising that Miles remains without a coaching job. The victim of one of the least deserving pink slips in recent memory, Miles has not coached since getting fired with a 2-2 record at LSU in 2016.

So getting Miles to talk about his interest level in coaching Kansas is not a problem, but would he want to take on the challenge of flipping a program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2008, has just 25 players on scholarship who have two or more years of eligibility remaining after this season, and has just an estimated 15 scholarships available for next season?

At 64, does that sort of long-term rebuilding project excite a coach who won a national title for LSU in 2007 and went 13-1 and lost in the BCS title game in 2011?

Or would he rather take over a program on more solid footing, perhaps even one with a shot of gaining inclusion in the College Football Playoff in the foreseeable future? Or maybe even wait to see if Michigan, his alma mater, is foolish enough to dump Jim Harbaugh if this season doesn’t go well.

There are ways for third parties on the lookout for Miles to find out what opportunities could pop up after the season, but if Kansas is the first job to come open, the bird in hand might give the underdog a shot.

Miles last coached in the Big 12 for Oklahoma State (2001-04), his springboard to 11-plus seasons at LSU.

Obviously, Miles checks the two most important boxes: He’s a good football coach and a proven recruiter.

The downside: He would have to assemble a staff from scratch and might not stay long.

Hiring an existing head coach from an impressive pool of Group of Five potential candidates — Jason Candle at Toledo, Tulane’s Willie Fritz, Wyoming’s Craig Bohl, to name a few — comes with the advantage of the coach already having a staff in place, one that could be ready to get to work on recruiting from Day 1.

I’m told Seth Littrell of North Texas — the logical choice for Texas Tech if things don’t go well this season — is not interested in coming to Kansas, where he was a graduate assistant on Mark Mangino’s staff from 2002-04, back when Dave Doeren was a defensive coach for the Jayhawks.

Doeren went 23-4 as head coach at Northern Illinois and is 35-30 at North Carolina State, including a 9-4 mark that ended with a three-touchdown victory vs. Arizona State in the Sun Bowl.

Doeren is from Shawnee, played at Bishop Miege High School and always has had an eye on returning to the area. But why do so without a hefty raise? Doeren’s making $3 million a year and his buyout after this season is $4.5 million.

For now, Beaty is KU's football coach and will try to soften the blow of last week’s loss to Nicholls State by scoring an upset Saturday to break the program’s 46-game road losing streak at Central Michigan.


Kevin Robert Fest 3 years, 11 months ago

Les Miles with all his ties to LA + Hull as an assistant with his recruiting abilities in LA could be interesting.

Eliott Reeder 3 years, 11 months ago

Was thinking the exact same thing. All those Cajun connections could make something positive happen for KU. Look what Nichols State just did to us with a reportedly all-Louisiana roster.

Gerry Butler 3 years, 11 months ago

I was talking with a friend and the possibility of Miles, which would be great IF he would come. - Which that's the big question , we both think you would really have to open the checkbook for him to come here and under take this warm pile of dog doo. - Then here is the thing also Les is 64 yrs old. So say we bring him in and maybe get 4 yrs possibly - - then what he calls it quits and we are right back where we are now - - No Coach and once again have to try and find a replacement and it's wash rinse and repeat cycle all over again.. I would love it if he came. What I said was to IF we could get him say he puts in his 4 yrs before calling it quits. -What would be ideal would be is to be grooming Hull for those four years while Miles is here and then turn it over to Him when Miles retires. - -Have your Coach in place. As we know Hull must be a pretty good recruiter in the Bayou anyways. My buddy says the only thing about that would be is usually when a New Coach comes in he wants to bring his own Coaching staff. - which means Hull would be out. - -I told him I'd be willing to bet if Miles were hired at the least he would interview Hull see if they clicked and possibly stay. - -That would be the ONLY Coach retained. I know if I were Hull Miles and was hired on here I would want to at least think about retaining Hull. - Should be interesting. That's IF we could get Miles here

David Kemp 3 years, 11 months ago

One thing about Miles, he comes with no contract buyout so you can spend a lot more.

John Fitzgerald 3 years, 11 months ago

I made a solid list of 15 candidates and all the guys you mentioned are on there. I have Miles and Doeren in the "Reaching for the Stars" category and the other guys in the "Most Likely Candidates". Although I didn't know Littrell wouldn't be interested in coming to Kansas. Can't blame him, though.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 11 months ago

I doubt Long will do anything impulsive, unless it's something like bringing on a recognized successful coach like Miles. Long will be patient to get what he believes to be the right guy even if that means going through the balance of the season with Beaty or an interim from the current staff. Regardless, I can't help but feel Long's eyes are all over Ann Arbor. It would be a gift from heaven if UM dumped Harbaugh...and we could pick him up!!!

John Fitzgerald 3 years, 11 months ago

Yes! He's been my dream hire all along. There is documented proof of him wearing a KU sweater.

[''] 3 years, 11 months ago

If he can't win at Michigan with all those top tier recruits how do you expect him to win here? PUNT!

John Fitzgerald 3 years, 11 months ago

Harbaugh has been 10-3, 10-3, and 8-5. The last coach to have two back to back ten win seasons at Michigan was Lloyd Carr from 2002-2003. It’s not “easy” winning at Michigan. Also, he turned Stanford around and took San Fran to a Super Bowl.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 11 months ago

Harbaugh doesn't stay anywhere for very long and usually wears out his welcome wherever he's been.

Josh Freeman 3 years, 11 months ago

You guys are right, no thanks Harbaugh.

KU needs to limit there coaching searches to Scott Frost-types and up.

Nick Saban is probably unrealistic, but why not throw the hole bank at Dabo Swinney? Folks at KU have been living high off the hog for years. I say we sequester KU administraters, offer 1million plus dollers. Throw in season bb tix, and I say we have a fighting chance gentlemen.

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 11 months ago

Although Harbough would be interesting. There will be a lot of NFL teams willing to pay 7-10 Million a year. I think if Michigan doesn't keep him, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and a handful of others will get first go at it.

Brian Wilson 3 years, 11 months ago

Nice Article. Les Miles + Hull would be a good choice. What at Nichols coach, Tim Rowe. I would think after he demonstrated to us first hand what he can do with local boys that he would be a good choice as well.

Michael Wattai 3 years, 11 months ago

I was at the game when Kent State pushed KU around in Lawrence and beat KU pretty handily. Pretty soon after, Kent State's head coach Glen Mason was hired as KU's head coach. Hiring Tim Rowe would be history repeating itself.

Len Shaffer 3 years, 11 months ago

Nice call, Brian, but his name is Rebowe. He would seem like a good choice for KU.

Randy Bombardier 3 years, 11 months ago

Lots of names come to mind and Miles is one of the highest. I still think it would be appropriate to check Manginos interest. Plain and simple is he was screwed. It would be justice if after all this he was brought back. It would demonstrate something high bureacracy..."we were wrong. " More like " They were wrong" but still a move to make it right. It's a matter of principal, not that bureaucrats care about that.

Dave Doreen would be good. Army and Navy coaches, out of the Paul Johnson free. A powerful run game would get us more wins.

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 11 months ago

Mangino would not have the connections to build a staff like he did back than. He unfortunately wouldn't be a good selection now.

[''] 3 years, 11 months ago

Guys! Get off the Magino kick! He was fired for a reason and has only gotten worse since then. Waaayyy better choice than him out there.

Jason Venable 3 years, 11 months ago

The Mangino fanatics have a hard time seeing what you're saying. The guy is washed up. He created problems everywhere he has ever been.

Gerry Butler 3 years, 11 months ago

I would have no problem trying to bring Mangino back at all. I think there are enough KU fans that would be interested in having him come back. However there is no way IN HELL Mark would ever come back here - -after the way he was treated I doubt he would ever listen. I wouldn't blame him

Len Shaffer 3 years, 11 months ago

As I've posted a couple of other times, why stop at Mangino? Why not bring back Pepper Rodgers from the dead?

Mangino was definitely NOT screwed. If he had been that abusive in virtually any other job (except for President of the United States, of course), he would have been fired IMMEDIATELY. And keep in mind that he didn't just abuse players; he was abusive to secretaries and other support staff as well. None of the Mangino apologists (who constantly talk about how good it is to have a "tough" coach) have ever explained how abusing non-players is okay.

Matt Gauntt 3 years, 11 months ago

I loved what Mangino did for the program years ago, but he hasn't been a head coach for about a decade now and his only big name coaching stint was with Iowa State as OC and that didn't last very long. Hiring him back after the Turner Gill fiasco might have been OK, but too much time has passed.

Freddie Garza 3 years, 11 months ago

Yet another example of how delusional we can be as a fanbase when it comes to our football program. We've got a better chance of hiring Bear Bryant to coach this team than we do Les Miles.

Chris DeWeese 3 years, 11 months ago

Is Les Miles still hungry enough to want to come to a program like Kansas? Given his age and record, what else does he have to prove? My preference is still Jason Candle, but I understand he hasn't really been a part of a rebuilding project. Still, the guy can win.

Mike Hart 3 years, 11 months ago

Spot on, Chris. Les Miles best days are clearly in his rearview mirror. He will be 65 in November. Coming to KU is a regression in his coaching career, a career that may have 1,2 or a max 3 years left. Why pursue an aged coach who would consider KU a big step backwards in the twilight of his coaching career. He is building a house in Baton Rouge, so his stay here would be limited at best.

Len Shaffer 3 years, 11 months ago

"Why pursue an aged coach who would consider KU a big step backwards in the twilight of his coaching career."

You're so right, Mike. That scenario sounds awfully familiar. Charlie Weis, anyone?

David Kemp 3 years, 11 months ago

Weis was really not successful as a head coach. Mediocre at ND.

Joe Black 3 years, 11 months ago

Only 3-4 years left since he will be 65?? What the crap are you talking about. Guys can coach until they hit 70 or older. If the individual is in relatively good shape, they can live for a long time after 70. Why does everyone thing age is a factor with Miles? He isn't one of the athletes, he is a coach who would be using his wealth of knowledge from being around for a long time to help win ball games.

Jason Venable 3 years, 11 months ago

There really are no rebuilding projects at Toledo. I live here. I watch the games. Very good coaches come out of here to go on to bigger and better jobs. But I really do see the need to hire an up and coming, successful, young coach with plenty to prove. And most importantly, to know what the hell he is doing. Beaty does not fit this description.

Freddie Garza 3 years, 11 months ago

I mean, seriously. Les Miles? Jim Harbaugh? What kind of crack do you have to be smoking to think that these guys would do anything other than laugh at an offer to coach this team? See, this is the kind of thing that irritates me, when we put these unrealistic expectations on our program as if it's not one of the absolute worst jobs in all of division I. I assure you, if it were better than that, then Beaty wouldn't be the guy we had to resort to in the first place, we maybe would've gotten Joe Bob Clements or somebody like that who is a local guy climbing the ladder currently at Okie State.

But Les Miles and Jim Harbaugh? Seriously, put the crack pipe down, it's embarrassing.

3 years, 11 months ago

good to hear from you Bryson! any more "quality insight" from you? how about "we'll win by 20" against Nicholls St?! Wrong. ha!

Doug Cramer 3 years, 11 months ago

Ya'll been smoking too much of that Ozark Baby Bang if you think Les Miles and Jim Harbaugh are coming to this program.

Program is on life-support, and will take a solid 6 to 10 years to turn around if executed properly.

Would love to see Doeren come home, but that ain't happening either.

Mangino is our best option. I know most of you hate hearing that, but he has the formula, attention to detail, competence, discipline, and work ethic to turn us around. Everyone else is a crap shoot given the state of the program.

Jason Venable 3 years, 11 months ago

You need to layoff the Ozark Baby Bang. Mangina is washed up. 2005, 2007,2008 were his only winning years. And the conference record stunk.

2002 Kansas 2–10 0–8
2003 Kansas 6–7 3–5
2004 Kansas 4–7 2–6
2005 Kansas 7–5 3–5
2006 Kansas 6–6 3–5
2007 Kansas 12–1 7–1
2008 Kansas 8–5 4–4
2009 Kansas 5–7 1–7

Doug Cramer 3 years, 11 months ago

Looks pretty good compared to what we’ve dealt with since he’s left.

I’ll take it !

Gerry Butler 3 years, 11 months ago

ya? - well with the three yrs only three years that YOU - -YOU yourself pointed out of 05 - -07 - -08 - those are 27 wins - -tell me since or how close we have come to 27 wins over a three yr period? - -hell even a 5 yr period - -hell even in 03 - - 04- - 06 we had 16 wins- -when is the last time we have come close to 16 wins in a three year period? - holy crap were talking about a 3 yr period NOW where we have had THREE wins - -THREE LOL. - -and Mangino is washed up? - MAYBE it's you that needs to step back from the pipe or come up with something better then that

Jayson Hawk 3 years, 11 months ago

Bowl eligible in 5 of his years and 4 years in a row! Before "Mangina" KU had NEVER been bowl eligible in back to back seasons.

Owens Smithson 3 years, 11 months ago

What do Bryson and the Beaty defenders think of this minor detail for the next coach:

“has just 25 players on scholarship who have two or more years of eligibility remaining after this season, and has just an estimated 15 scholarships available for next season?”


Bryson Stricker 3 years, 11 months ago

Also "just 25 players" is 10 less than the most I saw from the first 5 big twelve teams I looked at.... that number ideally would be around 35 but that isn't a ridiculous number lol....

also non-inclusive of walk-ons and people redshirting this year.

Jayson Hawk 3 years, 11 months ago

So about 30% behind everyone else.... You are really not helping his case here.

Doug Cramer 3 years, 11 months ago

Program is in BIG trouble looking ahead.

Jack Hoff 3 years, 11 months ago

Very curious. I would like feedback from the people. Would the fan-base prefer a return of Mangino or the hire of Les Miles? What do you think?

Freddie Garza 3 years, 11 months ago

Can I just point out that neither proposals are even remotely realistic? Les Miles is not coming, nor is Mangino considering the way he was hosed here.

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 11 months ago

As mentioned above, I don't think Mangino would have the connections to build a staff like he did. He had Miller, Doeren, and others and had a plan built on his connections in the B12 at the time. he has really been out of the league for 3 years, and really 10 years as a head coach. Unfortunately, he would be in a similar boat as Beaty, trying to piecemeal a coaching staff together, which couldn't be done.

With Les Miles, but I think there are others as well, they have a full staff ready to go. They might have to plug one or two holes, but they wouldn't be building a staff. I think Les lost some of his to varying programs, but I think there would be a lot of people interested in a coach that won at Oklahoma State and then wen to LSU and won consistently (including a NC).

I think there are a lot of coaches that could be successful at KU, I think the Turner Gill hire was a preconceived notion. TG had a better resume two years before his hiring, he just wasn't able to really build a plan. Weis was a gamble, and unfortunately he took a look of gambles and struck out. This set us back. Beaty on paper was an up and comer, had a connection to KU, was cheaper than the average coach, and was a huge gamble. However, the issue with Beaty is we knew the gamble wasn't there after year 2, but an extension was offered instead of running him out.

KU has a program that a lot of coaches would take. I guarantee a lot of coaches look at KU as a place to get started, turned around and get a huge pay day. Many people are concerned that if a coach wins here they will leave...I'd take the five years of great, the next will be inheriting a good program. I think every year we hear of coaches interested in the program, and I believe there are coaches (or really their agents) that are calling Long today. Some with a real plan.

John Joseph Gorski 3 years, 11 months ago

Does Bob Stoops have any interest in getting back into football?

Joe Black 3 years, 11 months ago

Probably but what does that have to do with KU. They don't have a football program.

Lucas Town 3 years, 11 months ago

I heard a rumor that Bob Stoops is building a house in Manhattan. Remember its just a rumor.

I also heard from a pretty reliable source (former player) that the next head coach in Manhattan will either be Bob Stoops or Jim Leavitt. This from the talks surrounding their program.

I find Stoops in Manhattan hard to believe.

But, K-State just released a master plan for their athletic facilities. Once a program destitute and futile, now leaving KU in the dust. The more other universities keep gaining the harder it will be for KU to keep up, especially when our primary focus has been trying to find a good coach for the past decade.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 11 months ago

I think the next coach will be Sean Snyder but Bob Stoops, Bret Bielema, Jim Leavitt and Brent Vennables are all possible candidates and would not be shocked to see any of them behind the wheel. Whoever takes over, I don’t see them returning to their old ways, I think they will still be a competitive program.

Marc Frey 3 years, 11 months ago

IDK, still laughing about the "downside of coming here" point in the article. Assemble a staff, not be here long......that seems pretty normal around KU football.

Richard Duran 3 years, 11 months ago

Seriously Keegan needs to quit taking long lunches at the Free State. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if we're gonna higher Miles we may have well kept Charlie Tuna. Our next coache should be Jim Leonhard.

Joe Black 3 years, 11 months ago

it is "hire" not "higher" unless you are talking about the joint that Keegan was smoking when he wrote this article. Jim Leonhard should be a "coach" not a "coache". Coache is french for coached. Also, Leonhard has never been a head coach. He is a defensive coordinator with no head coaching experience. We need someone that has been a head coach before and knows what it takes to assemble a staff and be successful coaching young men with an understanding of what it takes to win.

Lance Iamnot 3 years, 11 months ago

The real downside is that retired Les Miles at 66 is coached out. Meaning, as good and accomplished Coach Miles career has been, he may not be up to the Herculean task that is KU football. Pulling an accomplished 66 year old coach out of retirement to perform a miracle turnaround seems like an enormous long shot. If, Les Miles is not coached out, and is fully up to the task, then assembling a staff will be of minor consequence as KU will give him the time to be successful as long as he demonstrates that he is still very much in the coaching game.

Joe Black 3 years, 11 months ago

Man, Les Miles keeps getting older and older as people post about him. He isn't 66, he is 64 and will be 65 in November.

Denise Ann Yearnd 3 years, 11 months ago

I for one really miss having Les Miles at LSU,, Not for purely football reasons. His commitment to the young men who he brought into the program on and off the field taught me a lot about what is important about teem sports and Institutional pride. And of course he is one heck of a interview. He has come to love Louisiana so good luck in getting him to leave his adopted home, but I guess anything is possible.

David Friend 3 years, 11 months ago

It blows my mind no one ever mentions Chris Kleiman. North Dakota St is easily the top 1AA program in the country and can beat most schools D 1 schools outside of the power 5. He just got a raise to 500k and he has build a mid major level power in NORTH DAKOTA!!!

Freddie Garza 3 years, 11 months ago

We're getting warmer, but he can hold out for a much more attractive offer than what we have in Lawrence. Maybe we can get Bobby Boucher.

Kenny George 3 years, 11 months ago

This link should be required reading for all LJW sports department and also all posters of this message board...great insight by Kevin Flaherty as to how KU football program got to where it currently is...

Rob Byrd 3 years, 11 months ago

Doug, if you're right and it takes us a "solid 6-10 years to turn it around", then Mangino is definitely not the answer. I hope I'm wrong because I like Mark, but he will be lucky to make it another 10 years, and it'll certainly not be 10 years on a sideline with the pressure of head coach at Kansas.

Rob Byrd 3 years, 11 months ago

Jason, at least we were able to say that we hadn't had a losing record in the NON Conference in his 8 years. Lol. We can't even win a non conference game at all, these days! :-)

Brad Watson 3 years, 11 months ago

THERE IS NO FIRE IN THE BELLY...thats the problem with hiring an old coach...they are fat and happy living off past there the energy to do the recruiting.....the intestinal fortitude to head up an expedition to climb Mt.

Everest........I could be wrong.......but.......Miles might turn out to be another we want that?...Call Gene Chizik!

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