Ever since the announcement was made that David Beaty would not be returning for the 2019 season, rumors began flying around Lawrence regarding the next head football coach. But today, sources to Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger confirmed that the Kansas Jayhawks were finalizing a deal with longtime coach Les Miles.
The Dark Ages
Dating back to the Mark Mangino era, Kansas has failed to surpass one conference victory in a season since 2008. Mangino visited four bowl games, winning three including the 2008 Orange Bowl, but the Jayhawks failed to make a bowl since his departure.
The dark ages of Kansas football hit Lawrence like a truck, dealing with Turner Gill, Charlie Weis and David Beaty, but Miles brought hope. On the cusp of irrelevance, Kansas brought in Miles and his name brand and a proven track record to Lawrence.
Beaty wasn’t fearful of going after the big names, but found little success in the journey. Recruits opting out of commitments led the Jayhawks to pick up JUCO scraps to field a roster. But recruiting wasn’t Beaty’s only issue. Inability to make in-game decisions, poor clock management and simply being out-coached on a week-to-week basis was his downfall.
A New Beginning
The addition of Miles potentially ended that trend. Kansas has achieved ONE double-digit victory season in the program’s 128 year history. That came in 2007 while LSU was busy winning the BCS National Championship under Miles. The coach attained seven double-digit victory seasons in the eleven full years he coached in Baton Rouge. He also led the Tigers to a bowl game every year.
Frequent Flyer Miles
Once Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long announced Beaty’s eventual departure, the coaching search quickly focused on the 65 year old. Through flight tracking(!!), it was revealed Long visited Baton Rouge, then Dallas before returning to Lawrence on November 8th.
While there was initial concern with Miles not being on the return flight with Long, it was clear KU had found their guy. While there isn’t official confirmation as to why he didn’t travel to Lawrence, a combination of bad weather and a birthday on the 10th led many to downplay the occupants of the flight.
But on Thursday when the report that LSU and Miles had come to an agreement on a lump sum buyout, the writing became very clear on the wall. It was only a matter of hours.
We all want to see Miles on the sideline tomorrow. I get it. This is great news for Kansas. September 2019 can’t get here soon enough. Jayhawk football is relevant! First semester just got a whole lot better in Lawrence.