BATON ROUGE -- Les Miles, the 2002 Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year and former assistant with Michigan, Colorado and the Dallas Cowboys who built Oklahoma State into a force in the Big 12, has been named head football coach at LSU, athletics director Skip Bertman announced.
In four short years, Miles turned the Oklahoma State football program into one that was nationally competitive, despite competing in-state against one of the country's dominant programs. Under Miles' direction, the Cowboys were the only team in the nation to beat Oklahoma twice in the last four years, and he was also the first coach in OSU history to post wins over Nebraska and Oklahoma in the same season.
Miles led the Cowboys to three straight bowl appearances, an accomplishment OSU had not achieved since Jimmy Johnson started a string of three straight post-season games beginning in 1983.
LSU football head coach Les Miles, announced on Monday. Buy this photo!
Miles' college playing and coaching career includes experience under some of the most noted coaches in college football. At Michigan, he played for legendary coach Bo Schembechler and later served on Schembechler's staff. He also worked with Gary Moeller at Michigan and Bill McCartney at Colorado.
As head coach at Oklahoma State, he built a consistent winner out of a program that had recorded only one winning season since 1988, and had posted a record of 13-20 in the three years prior to his arrival at OSU. After going 4-7 in his first year as head coach in 2001, he took the Cowboys to consecutive winning marks of 8-5 in 2002, 9-4 in 2003 and 7-5 in 2004.
Miles led Oklahoma State to a four-year record of 28-21 for a winning percentage of 57.1, the best career winning percentage of an OSU coach since Jim Lookabaugh ended his career in Stillwater in 1949.
In 2004, Miles took Oklahoma State as high as No. 15 in the country with five wins to open the season. The 2004 season included road wins at UCLA, Colorado and Missouri, and the Cowboys never lost to a team outside of the top 25.
Oklahoma State's 2003 season was highlighted by victories over eventual Big 12 Champion Kansas State and a bowl-bound Texas Tech squad. Miles and his Cowboys won seven straight in 2003 after a season opening loss at Nebraska and finished the season with back-to-back victories.
Miles was the 2002 Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year after directing his second Oklahoma State team to an 8-5 record and the school's first bowl appearance since 1997.
Prior to his tenure as head coach at Oklahoma State, Miles was an assistant coach for the Dallas Cowboys for three seasons from 1998-2000.
Miles comes to LSU off of his second tour of duty with Oklahoma State. Before going to Dallas, Miles served as Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator for three seasons from 1995-97, including an 8-3 season and Alamo Bowl berth in 1997.
Success has followed Miles at every stop of both his playing and professional career. He was a two-year letterman at Michigan (1974-75). During those two seasons, Michigan was a combined 18-3-2, had final Associated Press national rankings in the top 10 and participated in both the Rose and Orange Bowls.
He joined Bo Schembechler's Michigan coaching staff in 1980 for the first of two stints as a coach in Ann Arbor. In 1980 and 1981, Michigan combined for 19 wins and just five losses, won the Big 10 title in 1980 and played in the Rose and Bluebonnet Bowls, respectively. Miles left Michigan for Colorado, where he served on Bill McCartney's staff from 1982 through 1986. In his final two years at Colorado, the Buffs earned bids to the Freedom Bowl and Bluebonnet Bowl.
In 1987, he returned to Michigan, where he would spend the next eight years as part of one of the most successful eras in Michigan football history. From 1987 to 1994, Michigan won 71 games, made eight straight bowl appearances, including four trips to the Rose Bowl, and finished no lower than No. 21 in final Associated Press national rankings.
The 1989 Michigan squad finished 10-2, won the Big 10 championship and finished ranked No. 7 in the country. That would be Coach Bo Schembechler's final season as Michigan's head coach.
When Gary Moeller took over the Michigan program prior to the 1990 season, Miles remained on the staff. The 1990 team finished 9-3, winning the Big 10 title and the Gator Bowl. The following season (1991), Michigan finished 10-2 and with a No. 6 national ranking. Miles coached some of the best players to wear the Michigan uniform, including eight first-team All-Americans, 10 total All-Americans and 12 players from Wolverine offensive lines that were NFL draftees.
Born November 10, 1953, Miles earned his degree in economics from Michigan in 1976. Les and Kathy Miles have four children, Kathryn, Leslie Matthew, Benjamin and Macy Grace.
COMMENTS FROM LSU COACH LES MILES AT FIRST PRESS CONFERENCE
"I would like to give thanks to Skip Bertman, the Tiger Athletic Foundation, the Board of Supervisors, President Jenkins, that they entrusted in me the responsibilities of coaching this football team. I realized that if I looked at LSU from afar that they had everything. They had a great school, a wonderful community, world-class facilities, tradition of 111 years, nine championships, two national championships. I think a great debt of gratitude combined in our football team and community that I represent today goes to Nick Saban. He is a guy with tremendous vision. I found out really about that vision today, walking through campus when I saw an academic center that is a magnificent piece, completely done and operational, well behind the brand new football operations facility. A football coach has to understand that it is academics first. You will find that in me as well. I met with a small group of players today and how much I enjoyed hearing them say 'we are committed coach.' 'We are going to win championships and do the right things.' Of course, I haven't met the team yet. I can only tell you that the only fit to me for those players on this campus is extremely good. The goal, and Coach Saban set it up for us, is to run the finest football program in the country where our guys can have experience that is second to none. That is my intent. I am very respectable and understand what an honor it is to be the LSU head football coach."
On the coaching staff ...
"There are a number of guys that I have talked to already. There is a very qualified LSU staff here. I am going to presume that they are or are not on my staff until I meet with them and make sure. This is a team that has had an incredible amount of success. This is the staff from that team. I am going to evaluate it very seriously. A number of guys from Oklahoma State would enjoy coming and probably will head this way. I will announce the staff entirely at which time the staff is together."
On his offensive scheme ...
"We will approach a good balance of run and pass. We want the defense to have to defend both the run and pass. We are going to see the talent that we have available and really fit the talent that we have and the ability to get the ball to the most talented guys. We are going to see how that works and factor that in as we go forward."
On when he was first approached ...
"Skip Bertman called to speak to my athletic director and in turn suggested that there was interest. I immediately had interest. I asked that we not meet until we play our bowl game. Skip said he thought we should and I said 'I think we should too.' It happened three days before we played. We visited for a couple of hours. I was in sweats and certainly felt like I did not make the exact impression that I wanted to, but they stayed directed towards me. Thereafter, they pursued me, and I wanted this job."
On taking over a program that recently won a national championship as compared to taking a program over that was down ...
"Everybody has asked me, 'you know you found a great coach there. They have won a national championship. I know that some point in time, wherever you are at, you should have it up and running here and I want that opportunity. I want the opportunity to step along side a great team, a great school and be a part of extending a very competitive tradition."
On recruiting ...
"What we will do is take the group of young men that LSU has been recruiting and I will start communicating with them in earnest beyond this press conference and beyond a meeting with the current LSU staff."
On having a chance to tell his former team of accepting the LSU job ...
"I have not yet. I will return and speak to a group of guys that have done everything that I have asked and that I am very beholding to. Anytime you say goodbye to really good people, it is a difficult thing. When school is in at Oklahoma State, that is when I will visit with them."
On keeping the talent in Louisiana ...
"Louisiana has a heritage of great players that play their high school football within the boundaries of Louisiana. What this school has done a national university into one that works so well to support the academic success of the student athletes. With its proximity and its academic and athletic strength, it is a great attraction for the local kids. The only thing that I can tell you is that I know high school football in this area. I am very comfortable with the high school coaches. I am going to reach out to them and their players. We want them to stay here and play for LSU."
On having coaching experience in the NFL at the Dallas Cowboys ...
"I was the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State at the time. I am a college coach and it is what I have wanted to do, be a college head coach, since I turned me eye toward coaching. I felt like I had to get into football at its highest level, strategy, offense, defense and special teams at its highest level. What happened was I felt like it was a great experience. I met an LSU graduate there, David LaFleur. As a college coach, you have a calling and that is to introduce a young man to a school, getting comfortable, teaching how to be accountable and grow as a young man and put him in a position to be successful upon graduation. If that is in your blood, you are a college coach and certainly, it is mine."
On seeking advice from former head coach Nick Saban ...
"I absolutely will. I am told on the plane ride back from the Capital One Bowl game wrote about three pages of notes about players and really anything that he wanted to tell me. In the very short future, I will talk to Nick Saban and first of all thank him and suggest to him to tell me where he would go from here. I will revere his recommendations."
On the idea of keeping current Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp and Offensive Coordinator Jimbo Fisher ...
"Everybody I talked to, whether officially or unofficially, represented the LSU coaching staff as professional and confident and wonderful people. Certainly, I need to consider them, but this will eventually be my decision. That is how we will go."
On the philosophy of recruiting ...
"Louisiana first. Texas, Florida second and wherever you can get to where there is a great interest in a talented player interested in LSU."
On speaking to his current staff of coming to LSU ...
"Every man was excited as he can be and looked forward to the challenge. Oklahoma State has done a tremendous job in trying to keep them and should. They are a great staff and have offered raises, and that is what they should do. They are a very competent staff, so it is good for their families if they stay and it could be better for their families if they come."
On his defensive scheme ...
"I think the evolution of what we did at Oklahoma State would not necessarily be what we would do at LSU. The reasons would be, there are times where our personnel would not match up. What we had to do was orchestrate scheme to benefit our personnel. The first mistake of any coach is to ask a player to do something that he knows he cannot do. It means you cannot win. What we did at Oklahoma State is ask our players what they could do and understand where strategically where we had a disadvantage and coach to that disadvantage. Here it appears that the talent level is much better. We will do those things that fit our talent. We will have a four-down linemen scheme that will have the ability to get after a passer and contain a running game."
On welcoming the challenge of being the flagship university in the state as compared to his previous job ...
"Oklahoma State was never the second school when I was there and certainly Oklahoma will be catching fire every minute that school prospers. Here the grand scope of the success that this place can have, the ability to recruit, to compete for championships and national championships very quickly. My competitive spirit could not let me say no."
On dealing with the media and the fans ...
"The only thing that I can tell you is that I am relatively honest and somewhat deceptive. I had a great relationship and one of the things that I will miss from Oklahoma State, is I had a great relationship with the Oklahoma media. I expect to have the same relationship here, but it is based on honesty and it is based on accessibility. I am in fact fairly accessible. My first priority will be to coach the players and to make sure that the experiences they are having are attended to academically, on the field and off the field. When I can, I will be very open to media."
On expressing interest in the LSU job before being approached ...
"I certainly said it to (David) LaFleur after he told me about it in our Dallas Cowboy meeting room. I don't know if I said, 'boy I sure would like to go there.' But there was interest in growing up and seeing Coach McClendon and understanding the tradition of LSU. There was great interest there as soon as that interest was mutual."
On the mystique of Tiger Stadium on Saturday nights ...
"I don't know what night that was, but I was in awe and there wasn't a person in the stands. It is a majestic, grand venue. I am told that the opponents have a very difficult time in hearing the snap count. I think that is a wonderful advantage for the home folks. I understand the opponents go by Mike (the Tiger). I understand it is called Death Valley and why. I look forward to it. My first Saturday night in that stadium will be an emotional one."
COMMENTS FROM LSU PRESIDENT WILLIAM JENKINS AT AD SKIP BERTMAN AT LES MILES PRESS CONFERENCE
LSU PRESIDENT WILLIAM JENKINS
"Welcome and good morning members of the media and LSU fans and supporters who have assembled today to welcome, subject to the board of supervisors ratification, Les and Kathy Miles with Les being our choice as our new head football coach at Louisiana State University."
"I want to take about a moment or two to make a few points that I think are especially dramatic to this situation that we are in. I want to commend the team that engaged in the search process, for its thoroughness, insightfulness, the back grounding and the incredibly hard work they put it in dealing with an issue that was not our choice as you all know. Three weeks ago we learned of coach (Nick) Saban's potential decision, and since that time both you and I know what has transpired and that was about eight days ago that we had the final decision in place."
"The team that coach (Skip) Bertman has assembled has done wonderfully well in a very short period of time, in really reviewing all the potential coaches for this incredible football program, make sure that everything is in place and they will come forward with the recommendation to our board of supervisors that Les Miles be our head football coach."
"It was a thorough and I believe and very successful endeavor. You also need to know that not only was I involved, but I was in constant contact with Chancellor designee Sean O'Keefe, who has also spent time with coach Miles. So both of us, myself as the interim chancellor and Sean O'Keefe as the designated have had the opportunity to spend some time with Kathy as well as Les."
"I want to acknowledge the presence of two important members of our community we have gathered this morning, we have two Board of Supervisor members present. Mr. Charlie Weems, who happens to be the head of the athletic committee of the LSU board of supervisors, is present as is Mr. Louis Lambert."
LSU ATHLETICS DIRECTOR SKIP BERTMAN
"Thank you Mr. President and thanks also to the Chancellor, but a special thanks to the search team that as the president suggested did such a great job. I would like to thank again Mr. Charlie Weems who was with us 100 percent of the time. Mr. Richard Gill 100 percent of the time, Dan Radakovich and Verge Ausberry from our staff 100 percent of the time, in addition to the president and the chancellor."
"We looked real hard, we did. We spoke to many people. We certainly had hundreds of contacts. Throughout the football community, Les Miles is extraordinarily well respected. Not just anybody can coach at LSU, in my opinion, at this level because of the media glare. I think it's a fit with this job. It has to do with the right blend of leadership and characteristics to manage a program of this magnitude."
"Les Miles fits the criteria of the head coaching experience from a Division I BCS conference, a winning record and proven consistency and running a clean program, one where they had a strong commitment to academics and a blend of coaching and NFL experience."
"Personally the closest I've ever watched and worked with is, of course, Nick Saban. Surely the success that Nick had, which he overhauled our program the last five years had impact on his successor. We were looking for a person with similar background, characteristics and the nature to continue our success. I also felt along with the committee that it was important to start today."
"I think that today, the first day of recruiting, is important. I think that we won't lose a recruit. I think that is urgent for us. Coach Miles is a tireless recruiter, excellent evaluator of talent, disciplinarian, his record with academics is impeccable and his handling of all phases of the program indicates that he is an excellence seeker. I like the mix of NFL experience proven successful here by Nick at LSU, and Les brings that knowledge and experience to our campus."
"Now, five years ago, Nick Saban didn't have the stature that he has today. He did great, the greatest I've ever seen, coaching job. He took advantage of the facilities here at LSU made available. Now afforded these same tools, facilities and the unparalleled fan support, and of course being the flagship school -- only flagship school in the state -- I feel certain that Les can continue the success that he's had at LSU."
LSU PLAYER QUOTES ON NEW HEAD COACH LES MILES
OT Nate Livings
On his impressions of Les Miles...
"He sounds like a real good player's coach towards communicating with the players, seeing it from where we see it. He also commented that he played before too. His views are like coach Saban's views, but he also has his differences also. We as a team just have to accept it and that's how it is. I understand that he has so much work he has to do and getting adjusted to the things down in Baton Rouge. It's going to take more than just one meeting, but he sounds like a real real good coach."
WR Skyler Green
On what the team expects from Les Miles...
"We're hoping that he continues our success with what coach Nick Saban left behind and hope we can continue to build on that foundation coach Saban left behind."
On if he believes Les Miles can continue LSU's success...
"I'm very convinced that he can. When he first talked to us he said that this is not my team, this is our team. That was the biggest quote he said to us. We're going to take it and run with it that way -- together we're going to do this."
OT Andrew Whitworth
On his first impressions of Les Miles...
"I think he's an intense guy. I think he's a guy that's going to be very focused on what he has to do and what he needs to do. That's something that we're going to be excited about also. This team has a goal to be successful, and we have a huge senior class coming back this next year. I think guys are going to be ready to win and be successful here at LSU again."
On the coaching search being completed at this time...
"It's good. I think it's good for the program. It's good for everyone to have it over right now. We can work right now and start working on things like recruiting and doing different things that we need to do to help the program be successful. That's going to be our goal, and definitely just seeing that he's intense and devoted to that also is a positive."
David LaFleur, former LSU and Dallas Cowboys Tight End
"He's the best coach I've ever played for. He's an excellent choice for LSU. He's a great individual, both on and off the field. He's great with the players, and away from the field he makes sure everything is done the correct way. I can't say enough about the guy. He brought a lot of enthusiasm into the game, and he's just a joy to be around.
"He made Oklahoma State a top 25 program and did a great job of recruiting while playing second fiddle to Oklahoma in that state. He did some outstanding things there, and I look for him to come here and carry on the success LSU has had the last few years. LSU is the only show in the state and I think he should do very, very well."
Jerry Jones, Owner, Dallas Cowboys
"On the football field, Les Miles is a proven winner who knows how to teach the game and produce results. He also has the unique qualities necessary to lead young men and make a difference in their lives.
"I believe, however, that Les' greatest asset is his integrity and the very high level of character that he exudes naturally. Some people talk about sincerity and doing things the right way. Les Miles defines that standard on a daily basis."
Troy Aikman, former quarterback, Dallas Cowboys
"I always had a great deal of respect for Les when he was coaching here in Dallas. What he accomplished at Oklahoma State in the short time that he was in Stillwater speaks for itself. Not only is Les an outstanding football coach, he is also someone who will represent LSU with class and integrity. Knowing that the head coach often serves as the face of the university, I can't imagine LSU having a better person to be in that role than Les Miles."