When the University of Kansas hired Les Miles to be their next football coach, they knew exactly what they were getting. Athletic Director Jeff Long and Miles have known each other for quite some time, having worked together previously at the University of Michigan in the 80’s. The Jayhawks are getting a coach with a career record of 142-55 over a 15-year career between his stints at Oklahoma State and Louisiana State. He won a National Championship at LSU and was 7-4 in bowl games. KU now has the only coach in the Big 12 to win a national title.
KU has had some serious problems since they fired Mark Mangino. They brought in Turner Gill, who I thought was a good coach, but he couldn’t win at Kansas. He had little success at the University of Buffalo, going 20-30 over four seasons. The players he recruited to Kansas were the same type of players that he recruited to Buffalo, a school in the Mid-American Conference, not quite the Big 12. It’s hard enough to win in the Big 12, but when you’re trying to do it with less talented players, things aren’t going to go well for you. At Kansas he went 5-19 in two seasons.
KU then turned the program over to Charlie Weiss who pulled it down to historical depths. His recruiting strategies backfired and he went 6-22 over 2 and a half seasons before the Jayhawks turned to David Beaty.
Beaty went 6-42 over four seasons and although the Jayhawks showed promise during this past season, KU pulled the plug on him and immediately went after Miles.
In Miles, they have a coach who gives them instant credibility. Recruits that would have never considered Kansas in the past will take a look at them now just because Miles is the head man. I expect the talent level to go up beginning with his first recruiting class. I realize that he faces some scholarship deficiencies, (thanks Charlie Weiss), but I believe that Miles can overcome those within a couple of years.
Miles has a great gig at Kansas. He’s not expected to win big at first, he just needs to be competitive and win some conference games and maybe play in a bowl game within a few years. Getting to six wins shouldn’t be a problem for Miles in a few years. Of course, it’s not going to happen overnight, but Miles is the right man for the job. He sure has Jayhawk fans excited for next season, but when you bring in the most successful football coach KU has ever had, that’s bound to happen!
– Rob Mooney, Metro Voice sports writer
– PHOTO: Newly-hired Kansas football coach Les Miles tastes a piece of Kansas grass as offered by Baby Jay as he is introduced to the Allen Fieldhouse crowd during halftime of the Jayhawks’ game against Stanford. by Nick Krug