Les Miles has been officially named the 39th head football coach in the history of the University of Kansas, per a release from the University AD Jeff Long.
There will be a press conference streaming live at 5 PM that you can view here.
It’s been probably the worst-kept secret in recent KU history. Since Beaty was informed by Jeff long 14 days ago (Nov 4) that he would not be retained following the end of this season, KU Twitter has been abuzz, primarily regarding Les Miles. Kansas and Miles reportedly had contact as early as Nov 8.
Additionally, all throughout the Oklahoma game, Fox play-by-play man Tim Brando kept dropping hints that “news” out of Lawrence was coming soon.
The majority of Kansas fans seem to be happy with the hire. Les Miles is a big name, a national championship winning coach, and just the hire alone will get people to notice Kansas football, at least for a while.
In 16 seasons as a head coach, he has compiled a record of 142-55, including a national championship in 2007 with LSU. Miles was 28-21 in four seasons at Oklahoma State (2001-04), and 114-34 in 11+ seasons at LSU. Additionally, his recruiting success at both OSU and LSU is undeniable.
Miles’ track record speaks for itself, but there are a number of fair concerns that come along with this hire.
Miles has never dealt with a program that will be facing the kind of scholarship restrictions KU has. Even without that to worry about, recruiting to Kansas is nothing like recruiting to LSU. With Miles turning 65 last week, the hope is that he will surround himself with assistants who will be able to help him properly rebuild the KU roster. For 2019, Miles will have to build a recruiting class in less than a month, as KU has just one verbal commit to date.
Additionally, Miles’ “old-school” offenses were one of the main reasons he was let go at LSU. While he was still able to win 10+ games per year, most of the time his teams were able to line up and “out talent” the other squad. That won’t be the case at Kansas. Even at LSU, Miles’ teams struggled with quarterback play, something that has also been an issue at Kansas since Todd Reesing graduated. Will Miles hire an offensive coordinator and get out of the way?
While the scholarship situation isn’t ideal (as mentioned above), Kansas does have a few things going for it. The Jayhawks only lose a few players on offense, primarily WRs Steven Sims and Jeremiah Booker, along with QB Peyton Bender and OL/C Alex Fontana. That means most of the offensive line is back, along with all of the running backs, including the electric Pooka Williams, whose talents were on full display on national television against Oklahoma. However, KU will have to replace seven starters on defense for 2019.
Additionally, KU has recently renovated the locker and meeting rooms, and is about halfway done constructing a brand-new indoor practice facility right next to Memorial Stadium. Don’t let anyone tell you that the facilities aren’t on-par with anyone else in the Big 12, because they are.
However, there’s no doubt about it - Kansas has been on a dreadful run since the ouster of Mark Mangino. KU went just 15-81 from 2010-17; that doesn’t include this year’s 3-7 record.
It’s now Les Miles’ job to break the cycle and make KU football relevant again.