Les Miles would have 'difficult time' not being a coach

ByDavid Ching ESPN logo
Monday, September 26, 2016

Les Miles plans to coach football again.

The former LSU coach, who was fired Sunday after his team got off to a disappointing 2-2 start, made that clear Monday on Dan Patrick's radio show in his first public comments since his dismissal.

"I don't golf," Miles told Patrick. "I play no tennis. I enjoy shooting the gun; I don't necessarily like to point it at animals. I play cards, not very well. But what I have done for probably 12 to 14 hours a day for the last number of years is coach football. So I would have a difficult time not being involved in the game and not being a coach."

Miles boasts the highest winning percentage in modern-day LSU history (.770) and sits second on the school's all-time wins list with a record of 114-34. In his 11-plus seasons in the SEC, Miles' teams claimed a 2007 BCS championship, played for another national title in 2011 and won three conference titles.

However, the program has not lived up to its lofty expectations in recent years. The 2016 squad was a preseason top-10 team, but LSU fell out of the national polls after Saturday's 18-13 loss to Auburn dropped the Tigers to 2-2.

Miles, who will turn 63 in November, said LSU athletic director Joe Alleva informed him of his firing at a face-to-face meeting Sunday. Miles said he did not fight the decision to end his LSU run in its 12th season.

"It was beyond fighting," Miles said. "The enjoyment of being here, the enjoyment of the community, the experiences that my family's had, it's too important to me to fight over. It's history. It's what we are. If they see that a change makes the Tigers better, then I am for them."

Although Miles said a "cultural divide" within LSU's athletic department led to his exit -- school power brokers almost fired him in November in a highly public tug-of-war -- he thanked Alleva for the opportunity to address the Tigers at a team meeting Sunday.

"I recognize in those decisions so many times, you can see where it's not necessary that the ex-head coach says goodbye," Miles said. "But they gave me that opportunity, and I took advantage of it and did not stay long, but wished them well. They deserve the best. I think Ed Orgeron will do a great job for them, and I exited about as fast as I could."

Miles has been in coaching since 1980, when he became a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Michigan. His weekends have been consumed with football ever since, with assistant coaching stops at Colorado, Michigan, Oklahoma State and with the Dallas Cowboys and head-coaching stints at Oklahoma State (2001-04) and LSU (2005-16).

This will be Miles' first unscheduled fall weekend off in decades, and he said he isn't sure what he will do. His oldest son, Manny, is a walk-on quarterback at North Carolina, and Miles suggested he might make an impromptu trip to see the Tar Heels visit Florida State on Saturday.

"If I can find a ticket, I think they play at Florida State, I think I'll see if my son can arrange a ticket," Miles said. "I can tell you one thing, I'm going to be rooting for the LSU Tigers, I'm going to be rooting for the Tar Heels, I'm going to be rooting for the Cowboys, and I'm going to be rooting for Michigan.

"And then when Ben [his youngest son, a Nebraska commit] ends up at the school that he's committed to, then I'm going to root for them. It's just the way it is."