Miles out as Jayhawks coach amid sexual misconduct allegations at LSU

The university said Kansas and Les Miles mutually agreed to part ways.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Les Miles is out as Kansas’ head coach just days after he was placed on administrative leave amid sexual misconduct allegations from his tenure at LSU.

Kansas announced Miles’ departure Monday night, describing it as a mutual agreement to part ways. Miles has three years left on his original five-year contract with the school that pays him $2.775 million annually through December 2023 and includes several bonuses, among them a $675,000 retention bonus paid last November.

“I am extremely disappointed for our university, fans and everyone involved with our football program,” Kansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement. “We will begin the search for a new head coach immediately with an outside firm to assist in this process. We need to win football games, and that is exactly what we’re going to do.”

The 67-year-old Miles was 3-18 in two seasons with the Jayhawks. Offensive coordinator Mike DeBord was named acting head coach.

“This is certainly a difficult day for me and for my family,” Miles said in a statement. “I love this university and the young men in our football program. I have truly enjoyed being the head coach at KU and know that it is in a better place now than when I arrived.”

Last week, LSU released a 148-page review by a law firm about the university’s handling of sexual misconduct complaints campus-wide. One part described how Miles “tried to sexualize the staff of student workers in the football program by, for instance, allegedly demanding that he wanted blondes with big breasts, and ‘pretty girls.’”

The report also revealed then-LSU athletic director Joe Alleva recommended firing Miles in 2013 to university officials.

Kansas placed Miles on leave later that day and said it would conduct a review of allegations against the coach that it had previously been unaware of.

Kansas said terms of the agreement with Miles on his departure will be released in the coming days.

Miles spent 11-plus seasons with LSU, leading the school to a national title in 2007. He was fired four games into the 2016 season.

Miles was investigated at LSU after two female student workers in the football program accused the coach of inappropriate behavior in 2012.

While that 2013 investigation by the Taylor Porter law firm found Miles showed poor judgment, it did not find violations of law or that he had a sexual relationship with any students. Taylor Porter also concluded it could not confirm one student’s allegation that Miles kissed her while they were in the coach’s car with no one else present.

In an email dated June 2013 and sent to the president of LSU, Alleva wrote Miles was guilty of “insubordination, inappropriate behavior, putting the university, athletic (department) and football program at great risk.”

The Taylor Porter review had been kept confidential for about eight years until a redacted version of it was released this week after a lawsuit filed by USA Today.

For Kansas, Miles’ departure is just the latest setback for what has been college football’s worst Power Five program for a decade. The Jayhawks have not won more than three games in a single season since 2009.

Miles had been out of coaching for two years when Long hired him after the 2018 season, hoping a notable name and experienced coach could help break the apathy that has enveloped the Kansas program for a decade.

Long and Miles were friends dating to their time at Michigan in the late 1980s.

While recruiting has improved under Miles, little else has changed. The Jayhawks were winless last season for the third time in program history, losing by an average of more than 30 points per game.

Kansas has not had a winning season since 2008, the year before Mark Mangino was fired amid allegations of verbal and physical abuse. He was followed by Turner Gill, who won five games over two seasons, and Charlie Weis, who was 6-22 before getting fired four games into the 2014 season.

David Beaty was 6-42 in four seasons in charge of the Jayhawks and sued Kansas for withholding his buyout because of NCAA infractions. Beaty reached a $2.55 million settlement with the school last summer.

Now, with spring football practice around the corner, Kansas is starting over again, still stuck in a deep hole.