Les Miles
File:Les Miles 060622-A-7969G-008 0T62T crop.jpg
Miles in June 2006
Current position
TitleHead coach
Annual salary$4.3 million annually, plus performance bonuses;
signed through 2019[1]
Biographical details
Born (1953-11-10) November 10, 1953 (age 66)
Elyria, Ohio
Playing career
Position(s)Offensive lineman
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Michigan (GA)
Colorado (OL)
Michigan (OL)
Oklahoma State (OC)
Dallas Cowboys (TE)
Oklahoma State
Head coaching record
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
1 National (2007)
2 SEC (2007, 2011)
3 SEC Western Division (2005, 2007, 2011)
Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award (2011)
Home Depot Coach of the Year Award (2011)
Associated Press College Football Coach of the Year Award (2011)
AFCA FBS Coach of the Year (2011)
Walter Camp Coach of the Year (2011)

Leslie Edwin "Les" Miles, nicknamed "The Mad Hatter",[2] (born November 10, 1953) is an American college football coach and the current head coach of the LSU football team.

Prior to holding that position, he was head coach at Oklahoma State. He was formerly an assistant at Oklahoma State as well as Michigan, Colorado, and the Dallas Cowboys. Miles has held the head coaching position at LSU since January 2005 and coached the Tigers to a win in the 2008 BCS National Championship Game against Ohio State, 38–24. On August 26, 2011, his contract was extended to 2017.[3]

Playing and assistant coaching careerEdit

Miles earned all-state honors in football at Elyria High School in Ohio as well as letters in baseball and wrestling. He attended the University of Michigan where he was a two-year letterman under Coach Bo Schembechler from 1974 to 75. In 1980, Miles returned to Michigan as an assistant coach to Schembechler. He left Michigan in 1982 to coach at the University of Colorado where fellow Michigan assistant Bill McCartney had just been named head coach. Coincidentally, one of his fellow assistants on the Colorado staff was another future LSU head coach, Gerry DiNardo, who coached at LSU from 1995–99.

He returned to Michigan in 1987 where he helped lead the team to eight consecutive winning seasons and bowl appearances, including four Rose Bowl appearances. After Gary Moeller's resignation, Miles left Michigan again to join former Colorado assistant Bob Simmons staff at Oklahoma State as offensive coordinator. A rift with the University of Michigan occurred near the time of Moeller's resignation, forcing him to seek employment elsewhere. During the 1998 through 2000 seasons he was the tight ends coach for the NFL's Dallas Cowboys under head coaches Chan Gailey (1998–99) and Dave Campo (2000).

Head coaching careerEdit

Oklahoma StateEdit

Miles returned to Oklahoma State in 2001 as head coach. In the three years prior to Miles's arrival in Stillwater, the Cowboys finished 5–6, 5–6, and 3–8. Oklahoma State posted another losing record (4–7) in Miles's first season at the helm, but subsequently achieved winning records during each of the following three seasons – 8–5, 9–4, and 7–5, respectively. His last three seasons at Oklahoma State ended in invitations to the Houston, Cotton, and Alamo Bowls, respectively.

During the last game of Miles's first season as head coach, OSU faced Oklahoma, which was ranked #4 in the nation. Despite the fact that OSU was facing Oklahoma on the road, Miles led his team to a 16–13 upset victory over the Sooners.

During Miles's second season, OSU again ended the regular season with a game against Oklahoma. This time Oklahoma was ranked the #3 team in the country. And yet again, Miles led his team to a 38–28 upset victory over the Sooners. As a result of his team's performance during his second year, Miles was named the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year by the Associated Press in 2002.



On January 2, 2005, Miles was named the 32nd head coach of Louisiana State University. He replaced Nick Saban, who had left LSU to take over the Miami Dolphins. In August 2005, days before Miles was to make his debut as the coach of LSU, Hurricane Katrina struck southern Louisiana. LSU's first game, a home game against North Texas, was postponed until later in the season. The Tigers second game, against Arizona State, was moved from Baton Rouge to Tempe because the LSU campus was still serving as an emergency center for Hurricane Katrina relief. The conference opener against the University of Tennessee was also delayed, this time because of Hurricane Rita. The game was played two days late, which he lost.

In his first season as coach LSU won the 2005 SEC Western Division title with a 10–1 regular season record – including wins over #15 Arizona State (9/10/05), #11 Florida (10/15/05), #16 Auburn (10/22/05) and #4 Alabama (11/12/05). LSU's only regular season loss was an upset at home to #10 Tennessee (9/26/05). In the Tennessee game, after building a 21–0 lead at halftime, the Tigers failed to score another touchdown and lost to UT 30–27 in overtime. In the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, the #3-ranked LSU Tigers, though favored, lost to #13 Georgia 34–14. LSU recovered to win the 2005 Peach Bowl with a 40–3 rout of the #9-ranked Miami Hurricanes. Miles finished his first season at LSU with an 11–2 record, a #6 ranking in the USA Today Coaches Poll, and a #5 ranking in the AP Poll.

In 2006, LSU finished the regular season with ten wins (10–2), and ended the season with six straight wins. 2006 marked the first time in LSU history that the Tigers finished with back-to-back 10-win seasons. Miles was able to do this in spite of his team playing its four toughest games on the road. All four games were against teams ranked in the top eight when the game took place, with three of the teams in the top five (Auburn, Florida, Arkansas). LSU split those four games, losing to Auburn and Florida, but beating Tennessee and Arkansas. LSU did not win the SEC West title, finishing one game behind Arkansas. However, the Tigers were ranked ahead of Arkansas at the end of the regular season, and were rewarded with an invitation to face Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl where they defeated the Irish 41–14. LSU finished the 2006 season ranked #3 overall in both the AP and ESPN polls.


In 2007, Miles gained national attention due to numerous unconventional play calls during nationally televised games. LSU was ranked #1 twice during the regular season, but lost at #17 Kentucky in triple overtime 43–37 before losing its final regular season game at home to unranked Arkansas 50–48, also in triple overtime. As of the end of the 2007 regular season, which featured victories over six different coaches with national championships, Miles' record as head coach at LSU was 34–6. Coincidentally, the 2007 regular season also ended with a loss to Arkansas in a game marked by several of Miles' hallmark unconventional calls. Despite the loss, LSU would go on to the SEC championship game. On the day of the SEC championship game, Kirk Herbstreit wrongly reported on ESPN's College GameDay that Les Miles had accepted an offer to succeed Lloyd Carr as the head coach at Michigan.[4] Despite the media distractions, LSU won the 2007 SEC title, beating Tennessee 21–14. The night of LSU's SEC title victory, the teams then ranked #1 (Missouri) and #2 (West Virginia) both lost, allowing LSU to be ranked #2 in the AP, Coaches, Harris, and BCS polls. LSU beat Ohio State in the BCS National Championship Game 38–24, giving Miles his first national championship and LSU its third.

The 2008 lost several key players, but primarily junior quarterback Ryan Perilloux who was dismissed from the team after numerous off-the-field incidents. The Tigers also replaced defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, who left to become head coach for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The season was considered a disappointment, finishing unranked by going 7–5 during the regular season after beginning the season ranked #6. The dismissal of Perilloux left a lack of experience at the quarterback position, which was filled in first by Sophomore Andrew Hatch until he was injured, then Freshmen Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson, who each started multiple games.

The 2009 saw an on defense improvement after returning most of their key players from the previous season including and bringing in John Chavis from Tennessee as defensive coordinator. The offensive production fell from being ranked 55th in the nation to 112th. They finished the regular season 9–3, losing in the Capital One Bowl to Penn State, and finished ranked #17.

The 2010 saw further improvement with a running led by converted fullback Stevan Ridley that averaged 185.7 yards per game finishing, and finished the season ranked #8 after a Cotton Bowl victory over #18 Texas A&M.

The 2011 had one of college football's best regular seasons starting 13–0 with wins over 8 ranked teams, including wins against non-conference foes Oregon and West Virginia, along with a highly anticipated regular season match up against then #2 Alabama. They finished the season with the #2 ranked defense in both yards and scoring behind only Alabama. For his efforts Miles was won the 2011 Associated Press College Football Coach of the Year Award becoming the second LSU coach, after Nick Saban in 2003, to win the award . However, the Tigers fell short, losing 21–0, in a rematch against the Crimson Tide in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game. The game will always be remembered for LSU posting the worst offensive production in BCS championship history. Miles also received tremendous criticism for his benching of an undefeated and SEC pass efficiency leading quarterback prior to this game.

Michigan head coach speculation, 2007Edit

Throughout the 2007 season, there was speculation that Les Miles would be a top candidate for the University of Michigan head coaching position if it became available. On the day of the SEC championship game Kirk Herbstreit incorrectly reported on ESPN's College GameDay that Les Miles had accepted an offer to succeed Lloyd Carr as the head coach at the University of Michigan.[4] LSU officials quickly responded to Herbstreit's announcement and confirmed that Les Miles would not be taking the Michigan position and would be staying at LSU.[5] Miles cleared up any confusion himself in a last minute press conference to reporters saying,

"There was some misinformation on ESPN and I think it's imperative that I straighten it out. I am the head coach at LSU. I will be the head coach at LSU. I have no interest in talking to anybody else. I've got a championship game to play, and I am excited about the opportunity of my damn strong football team to play in it. That's really all I'd like to say. It was unfortunate that I had to address my team with this information this morning. With that being done, I think we'd be ready to play. There will be no questions for me. I represent me in this issue. Please ask me after. I'm busy. Thank you very much. Have a great day."[6]

The speculation resurfaced two weeks later when The Detroit Free Press reported that Michigan athletic director Bill Martin and university president Mary Sue Coleman spoke with Miles directly over the phone a few days after he signed a contract extension with LSU.[7] In response to the report, Miles issued a statement acknowledging the conversation, but claimed that he was merely offering advice and assistance to Martin on Michigan's search and that he is not a candidate for the vacancy. Miles reaffirmed his commitment to stay at LSU, declaring "I'm going to be the coach at LSU next season." [8] Any remaining speculation that Miles would still consider the job ended on December 16, 2007 when West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez accepted the head coaching job at Michigan.[9]

Michigan head coach speculation, 2011Edit

Miles was again mentioned as a candidate for the head job when Rodriguez was fired after the 2010 season. Michigan athletic director David Brandon, who was a teammate of Miles' at Michigan, reportedly flew to Baton Rouge to meet with Miles after LSU defeated Texas A&M in the 2011 Cotton Bowl Classic. An LSU spokesman confirmed that Miles was meeting with Michigan officials to discuss the vacancy, though Miles declined to identify whom he had met with or reveal the substance of the discussions.[10] Though some sources indicated that Miles would accept the Michigan job if it were offered to him and Baton Rouge radio station WJBO reported that Miles had already accepted the position, Miles again ultimately decided to stay at LSU.[11]

Coaching TreeEdit

Over the years, a number of former assistant coaches under Les Miles have gone on to take head coaching positions at FBS schools. Some of the more notable assistant coaches to advance from Miles's staff are Bo Pelini (HC at Nebraska), Mike Gundy (HC at Oklahoma St.), Jimbo Fisher (HC at FSU), Larry Porter (former HC at Memphis) and Bradley Dale Peveto (HC at Northwestern St.).

Miles himself is from the Bo Schembechler coaching tree, having played and coached for him at the University of Michigan.

Personal lifeEdit

Miles is married, with four children. ESPN has positively cited him for the balance he maintains between his role as a head football coach and his role as husband and father.[12] Miles is involved in churches with his family and has described himself as a "strong Christian."[13]

Head coaching recordEdit

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 Conference) (2001–2004)
2001 Oklahoma State 4–7 2–6 5th (South)
2002 Oklahoma State 8–5 5–3 2nd (South) W Houston
2003 Oklahoma State 9–4 5–3 3rd (South) L Cotton
2004 Oklahoma State 7–5 4–4 5th (South) L Alamo
Oklahoma State: 28–21 16–16
LSU Tigers (Southeastern Conference) (2005–present)
2005 LSU 11–2 7–1 1st (West) W Peach 5 6
2006 LSU 11–2 6–2 T–2nd (West) W Sugar 3 3
2007 LSU 12–2 6–2 1st (West) W BCS NCG 1 1
2008 LSU 8–5 3–5 3rd (West) W Chick-fil-A
2009 LSU 9–4 5–3 2nd (West) L Capital One 17 17
2010 LSU 11–2 6–2 T–2nd (West) W Cotton 8 8
2011 LSU 13–1 8–0 1st (West) L BCS NCG 2 2
2012 LSU 10–3 6–2 T–2nd (West) L Chick-fil-A 12 13
LSU: 85–21 47–17
Total: 113–42
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


  2. "Maddening, eccentric, mocked – Miles a coach in a league of his own". CNN. 3 October 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Source: Miles will remain coach at LSU
  5. "Les Miles expected to shun Michigan, has agreement to stay at LSU". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on 29 January 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2007.
  6. "This Is The Place I Want To Be". The Advocate. Retrieved 2 December 2007.[dead link]
  7. Michigan contacted LSU coach Les Miles last week
  8. Miles: 'I'll say it again, I'm going to be the coach at LSU'
  9. Rodriguez leaving West Virginia to coach Michigan
  10. .
  11. .
  12. Thompson, Wright (2011-11-08). "The Les you know".
  13. Doucet, Jacques; Michelet, Kirk (2011-06-29). "Les Miles talks religion and family". WAFB-TV Channel 9 (CBS) (Baton Rouge). Retrieved 2011-11-08.

External linksEdit

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.