Kansas is finalizing a deal with Les Miles to become the new coach of the Jayhawks. A source told CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd that an agreement between the parties is in place but it’s “just a matter of working out the details.” A formal deal is imminent, another source confirmed. Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated first reported that Kansas and Miles were nearing a deal with an announcement potentially coming from the program this weekend.
Miles still has one child, Macy, in a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, high school. The family is already planning its move to Lawrence, Kansas, a source told Dodd.
Miles, who turned 65 on Nov. 10, was 141-55 in 16 years as a college head coach at LSU and Oklahoma State. He led the Tigers to the 2007 national title and SEC titles in 2007 and 2011. He was let go by LSU after a 2-2 start in 2016 and just with LSU on Thursday, which opened the door for Miles to get back into the coaching ranks in 2019.
Kansas announced on Nov. 4 that it will part ways with David Beaty following the end of the 2018 season. Beaty is 6-40 in three-plus years as the head coach of the Jayhawks. Doddof Beaty’s dismissal that there was mutual interest between Miles and Kansas athletic director Jeff Long. Dellenger further reports that Kansas and Miles have been negotiating throughout the week. The two have a long relationship dating back to Miles’ time as an offensive line coach at Michigan. Long was a graduate assistant on the 1987 Michigan staff with Miles, and later worked as an associate athletic director for the Wolverines for seven years while Miles was on the staff.
Long noted upon the announcement of Beaty’s dismissal that he was looking for a program builder to take over the Jayhawks.
Miles has done just that on two occasions. He took over an Oklahoma State program in 2001 that finished with sub-.500 records in 11 of the previous 12 seasons, including five of six under Bob Simmons from 1995-2000. After a 4-7 season in 2001, Miles led the Cowboys to three straight bowl games before taking the LSU job prior to the 2005 season.
He took over for Nick Saban in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the program didn’t miss a beat. The Tigers won 11 games in each of Miles’ first two seasons at LSU, and then posted a 12-2 record in 2007, won the SEC Championship Game over Tennessee and topped Ohio State in the BCS Championship Game to claim the national title. After a lull to close out the decade, the Tigers won the SEC again in 2011 but lost the BCS Championship Game to Alabama — a team LSU beat 9-6 in the regular season.
The middle part of the decade saw offenses in the SEC become more exotic, which led to the end of the Miles era in Baton Rouge. Instead of adapting with the times, the Miles chose to play a more conservative brand of football that didn’t use spread principles and tempo to move up and down the field. That ultimately led to him fighting for his job at the end of the 2015 season, and being fired for good in late September 2016.
After his dismissal, Miles stated multiple times that he will incorporate more innovative offensive principles into his offensive scheme if given the chance to run a program again. If that is indeed at Kansas, the style of play in the Big 12 will not only force Miles to live up to his word, but do it at an elite level with elite players.
Kansas isn’t known as a program that recruits at a high level, but Miles does. During his 12 years at LSU, his worst recruiting class finished No. 14 in the nation according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. That class came in his first season in Baton Rouge in 2005 in a shortened recruiting cycle due to the coaching change.
Recruiting is likely a big reasons why Long is moving quickly to fill his vacant coaching job. The three-day early signing period starts on Dec. 19, and Kansas can’t afford to let that come and go without making a splash.
Kansas will play Oklahoma on Saturday and Texas on Nov. 23 to close out the 2018 season.