Les Miles is out as Kansas’ head football coach three days after he was placed on administrative leave amid accusations of inappropriate behavior toward female students during his head-coaching tenure at LSU.
Kansas athletic director Jeff Long on Friday said the university would be conducting a full review to determine the appropriate steps on Miles’ future, and late Monday evening announced that they had “mutually agreed to part ways.”
“I am extremely disappointed for our university, fans and everyone involved with our football program,” Long said in a statement. “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.”
Long said the school will use a search firm to assist in finding Miles’ successor. Long did not use a search firm when he hired Miles, a friend from their time together at Michigan in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Mike DeBord, who was hired last month as Kansas’ offensive coordinator, will serve as the program’s acting head coach until an interim head coach is determined.
On Thursday, a report released on behalf of LSU showed that a 2013 internal investigation at the school accused Miles of inappropriate behavior toward female students, including allegations he contacted some via Facebook and text, met them off campus alone and kissed at least one of them.
The report did not find he had sexual relationships with any of the women, and Miles strongly denied kissing the student, saying he didn’t do anything wrong and that he was mentoring young women at the university.
According to a copy of Miles’ employment contract with Kansas, the university would have “just cause” to end its agreement with Miles if the coach had “discreditable conduct that is inconsistent with the professional standards expected of a head coach of a collegiate sports team.”
Another clause in the contract that defines “just cause” is “participation in by head coach of any act, situation, or occurrence, or any conduct, which in Athletics of KU’s judgment brings Head Coach and/or KU into public disrepute, embarrassment, contempt, or ridicule … ”
It’s unclear whether these clauses were triggered; terms of the separation agreement are expected to be released in coming days, according to the university’s statement. Miles had three years left on a five-year contract he signed with Kansas in November 2018.
“This is certainly a difficult day for me and for my family,” Miles said in a statement on Monday. “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.”
Miles’ attorney, Peter Ginsberg, on Saturday described Kansas’ decision to put Miles on leave as being based on “media blowback” and categorized it as being “disturbing and unfair.”
The law firm Taylor Porter conducted the investigation on behalf of LSU. Ginsberg told ESPN in a statement Thursday that the results of the investigation “should put an end to the baseless, inaccurate media reports that Coach Les Miles engaged in an inappropriate touching of an Athletic Department student volunteer eight years ago.”
On Friday, a second report, this one conducted by the law firm Husch Blackwell, detailed systemic failures by LSU to appropriately report incidents of athletic-related sexual misconduct and abuse. Part of that report showed that former LSU athletic director Joe Alleva recommended in 2013 that Miles be fired as coach because of the accusations of inappropriate behavior with female students.
The 67-year-old Miles was 3-18 in two seasons at Kansas, including an 0-9 record in 2020. The Jayhawks’ only Big 12 win during Miles’ two seasons in Lawrence came over Texas Tech in 2019. Kansas hasn’t won more than three games in a season since 2009.
Miles guided LSU to a national title in 2007, and the Tigers played for a national championship on his watch in 2011.
Before Long hired him at KU, Miles had been out of coaching for parts of three seasons after being fired by LSU in 2016.
Tulane’s Willie Fritz, Buffalo’s Lance Leipold, Nevada’s Jay Norvell and Louisiana Tech’s Skip Holtz could be potential candidates for Kansas, which likely will focus its search on FBS head coaches.
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg contributed to this report
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