It has been nearly two years since LSU’s controversial firing of then-head football coach Les Miles, and “The Mad Hatter” remains unemployed going into the 2018 season.
Let’s admit it: college football just isn’t as fun.
Though there were legitimate criticisms of Miles’ coaching techniques, he was fired for the same reason many other SEC coaches have been sent to the unemployment line: they are not Nick Saban.
This is simply a plea to all universities that may be hiring in the future to give the quirky coach, who many of us love, another shot.
First, it is important to recognize his largest criticism. Like any coach, there were a few areas that Miles struggled in consistently, the most important being his clock management. Multiple games were lost due to Miles seemingly being unaware of the clock. A notable example of this would be the final play against Auburn in 2016 when a late snap after the clock expired cost the team a game-winning touchdown. After the loss, Miles was let go from the program.
Another problem Miles seemed to consistently face was his inability to find or improve a quarterback. He had a bad habit of switching between players to fill the team’s most important leadership position, which caused negative effects on and off the field.
But the good far outweighs the bad. There are only four national championship-winning coaches currently active in college football (Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher, Urban Meyer, and Dabo Swinney). Miles would rejoin that list if he returned.
On top of national-championship pedigree, he is incredibly fun to play for and players love him. Much of the LSU team was saddened when Miles was let go, with wide receiver Travin Dural saying, “He’s a player’s coach. If anybody tells you different, I don’t know what their experience was, but I have nothing but great memories with him. Everybody has great memories with him.”
And everyone knows that while his name stays in the media, it is hardly ever associated with bad press. Outside of a report by Sports Illustrated in 2013 that alleged Miles paid players and dismissed academic standards during his time at Oklahoma State—it was not only a story he denied but the magazine itself was criticized for lack of evidence and credible sources—Miles’ ethics have not been questioned. With controversy currently surrounding the integrity of many big-name coaches, a safe bet is needed now more than ever. And even though you never know what Miles is going to say, his integrity is not in question.
As far as winning goes, let the accomplishments speak for themselves:
- 1 national championship (2 appearances)
- 2 SEC championships (3appearances)
- Head coaching record: 141-55
- 14 bowl appearances (8-6)
- Associated Press College FootballCoach of the Year (2011)
To wrap up, Les Miles is a phenomenal coach and a unique presence that would contribute greatly to any program. The fact that he remains unemployed is a disservice to the entire college football landscape. Many want to see him back on the field chewing on blades of grass. It’s time that someone gives him that opportunity again. H&A
Photos courtesy LSU Athletics