Les Miles to Kansas has become a reality.
The Jayhawks announced Sunday that is has hired Miles as the replacement for head football coach David Beaty, who will be let go at the end of the season.
“Since the beginning of our search, we focused on identifying and recruiting an experienced head coach with a strong track record of success on and off the field,” KU athletic director Jeff Long said. “Les Miles is exactly what we need for our program right now. His national reputation as a great recruiter and as a coach who student-athletes love playing for will enable us to break the cycle and return a winning tradition to the Kansas Jayhawks. We are thrilled to have Les and his family as Jayhawks.
Miles has not coached since 2016, when he was fired by LSU in the middle of the season. He reached a settlement with the Tigers on Thursday regarding the buyout the school owes him. Miles’ new deal at Kansas will pay him $2,775,000 annually over a span of five years.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the KU football program and I am grateful to Chancellor Girod and Jeff Long for the opportunity,” Miles said. “We will bring Jayhawk Football back and we will do it with outstanding coaches, tremendous student-athletes of character and ability and an unrelenting drive for excellence. My family and I cannot wait to be a part of the KU family!”
Miles will be introduced as head coach at a 5 p.m. press conference.
Miles has 142-55 career record
Miles, 65, is the impact hire Kansas has desperately been searching for. The program hasn’t been relevant — save for jokes about how awful it is — since Mark Mangino was coaching the team nearly 10 years ago. Long, formerly of Arkansas, worked with Miles at Michigan in the 1980s.
While hiring Miles gives Kansas one of the more recognizable coaches in the country, it still has a lot of work to do to be competitive. The Jayhawks are 3-8 in 2018 so far with a game against Texas coming next week.
Miles’ worst season as a head coach came in 2001 when his Oklahoma State team went 4-7. That was his first season with the Cowboys. He’s never coached a team that finished below .500 since. Overall, Miles has a 142-55 record as a head coach, including his time at LSU where he went 114-34 and won the 2007 national title.
Kansas went with name recognition in 2011
After getting rid of Mangino in 2009, Kansas hired Turner Gill. He lasted two seasons as the team’s coach before Kansas fired him and hired former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis. That was a decided schematic disaster as the Jayhawks were 6-22 under Weis’ watch.
Weis’ name recognition far overshadowed his team’s performance. There’s a chance that could happen with Miles. For Miles to work at Kansas he’s going to have to find an offensive philosophy that works far more than it did in his final years at LSU.
He’s also going to have to recruit well. And recruit well quickly. Kansas has just one player committed in the class of 2019. Miles won’t have the benefit of a gradual transition.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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