Les Miles, Kansas Mutually Agree to Part Ways After LSU's 2013 Harassment Probe

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIMarch 9, 2021

Kansas head coach Les Miles watches practice before an NCAA college football game against Indiana State Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

The University of Kansas and head football coach Les Miles mutually agreed to part ways after the school initiated a review of his behavior while at LSU.

"I am extremely disappointed for our university, fans and everyone involved with our football program," athletic director Jeff Long said. "There is a lot of young talent on this football team, and I have no doubt we will identify the right individual to lead this program. 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."

Miles also released a statement:

"This is certainly a difficult day for me and for my family. 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. To our student-athletes, I want you to remember that you came to play for KU and earn a degree here. So, I implore you to stay and build on what we started and do all of the things we talked about doing together. There is a bright future for all of you and for KU Football."

Offensive coordinator Mike DeBord will serve as the acting head coach until an interim replacement is announced.

Miles was placed on administrative leave by Long on Friday following the release of an external probe by law firm Taylor Porter in 2013, which documented alleged inappropriate conduct by Miles while he was head coach of the Tigers.

The 67-year-old allegedly asked female student employees of the LSU athletic department to contact him on a private phone under false names, took them back to his condo and, in one case, kissed a female student in his car after offering to help advance her career.

Miles denies the events occurred, and the investigation could not unequivocally conclude Miles carried out sexual relationships with any students. However, LSU banned the coach from being alone with female student employees after 2013.

Former LSU athletic director Joe Alleva recommended firing Miles with cause.

Brody Miller @BrodyAMiller

New information. Former #LSU athletic director Joe Alleva recommended in 2013 to fire Les Miles with cause and said the public opinion would be in LSU's favor. https://t.co/x1C6TzOX6a

Miles' alleged behavior was only unearthed after USA Today's Kenny Jacoby, Nancy Armour and Jessica Luther sued for its release following a broader investigation into LSU's handling of sexual misconduct cases.

"Even though the allegations against him occurred at LSU, we take these matters very seriously at KU," Long said in a statement. "Now that we have access to this information, we will take the coming days to fully review the material and to see if any additional information is available. I do not want to speculate on a timeline for our review because it is imperative we do our due diligence."

Long initially attempted to fire KU coach David Beaty with cause to bring Miles to Lawrence—and avoid paying a $3 million buyout on Beaty's contract—a plan that backfired, with the university settling at $2.55 million while exposing the AD's infatuation with Miles.

Sworn testimony given by Long showed the athletic director struggled to name another coach he interviewed before hiring Miles. In his statement regarding Miles, Long wrote that he was unable to access any official reports on the investigation until Wednesday. It's unclear what Long knew of the 2013 investigation into Miles before hiring him to coach Kansas in 2019.

It's another dark chapter for a program that hasn't produced more than four conference wins in a season since head coach Mark Mangino led the Jayhawks to an Orange Bowl victory in 2007.

Dating back to 2010, Kansas has hired and fired Turner Gill, Charlie Weis, Beaty and now Miles. The program has finished 10th in the Big 12 in all but two seasons during that span—a stretch that includes winless campaigns in 2015 (0-12) and 2020 (0-9).

Miles leaves KU after going 3-18 (1-16 Big 12) and following a mass exodus of assistant coaches before the allegations were released.