Method to the Madness: Les Miles gets contract buyout

USA Today

Two years after being fired by the Louisiana State University Tigers, former head coach Les Miles has obtained a buyout of his contract.

Miles will receive a one-time payment of $1.5 million to erase the remaining $6.5 million on his deal that was extended through 2023. So now, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, The Mad Hatter returns. Kansas athletic director Jeff Long and Miles know each other from their time at Michigan in the 80’s and 90’s.

 “It’s time for both parties to move forward,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said in a  statement. “One of the challenges of the buyout that was in place was there just wasn’t a lot of incentive to move on to other things. We were looking to provide that and Coach Miles and his representatives also were ready. It was a mutually agreed upon goal and a very positive process from beginning to end.”

Under the Helmet

The Kansas Jayhawks were in the market for a new head coach to replace recently-fired David Beaty and Les Miles appeared to be the program’s main target as they worked on finalizing a deal.

The national championship-winning coach has a history of success wherever he goes, but this one is different, both on the field and the recruiting trail. Because of location and program tradition, however, recruiting in Lawrence, Kan. is a little different from recruiting in Baton Rouge, La. 

LSU is nicknamed DBU (Defensive Back University) for the wealth of talented that program wields at that position. However, Miles had a knack for finding and developing under-the-radar prospects. This is a trait that must be attractive to any AD looking for a coach, especially at a school with no little football history like Kansas.

Best of the West

Kansas is now is the only school in the country with national championship winning coaches in football and basketball. Miles is someone who brings instant credibility to the program. He went 28-21 with three bowl appearances in four years at Oklahoma State before taking the LSU job prior to the 2005.

He maintained LSU as a national power after taking over from Nick Saban with a 114-34 record and bowl appearance in all 12 of his seasons. LSU won ten or more games seven times when he was there, including the 2007 and 2011 campaigns when he guided the Tigers to national title games. In all, Miles, 65, has spent 16 seasons as a head coach and boasts a 142-55 record. Meanwhile, they haven’t had a winning season since 2008 and are just 6-40 over the past four seasons.

Can Les Miles’ madness work at Kansas? The fan base has been hungry for success in football to match the success of their basketball program. It will be a work in progress and everyone must be patient. This will not work overnight, but if any one is crazy enough to think they can turn the Jayhawks around, it’s The Mad Hatter.

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