Les Miles stepping down as KU head football coach due to LSU misconduct allegations

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LAWRENCE, KS – SEPTEMBER 21: Head coach Les Miles of the Kansas Jayhawks watches his team against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Memorial Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Les Miles is stepping down as head coach of the University of Kansas football team, the university confirmed Monday.

In a statement, the university said Miles and KU “mutually agreed to part ways effective immediately,” and search for a new head coach will begin immediately.

The news comes just a few days after the university placed Miles on administrative leave Friday. A 2013 report was released that same day shedding more details on allegations of misconduct during Miles’ time as head football coach at Louisiana State University.

KU Athletic Director Jeff Long issued the following statement Monday night:

“I am extremely disappointed for our university, fans and everyone involved with our football program. 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 issued a statement through the university:

“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.”

Miles was entering his third year as Kansas coach, coming off a winless 2020 season. Mike DeBord will continue to serve as the acting head coach at KU until an interim head coach is determined.

Miles was investigated at LSU after two female student workers accused him of inappropriate behavior. He was coach at LSU for more than 11 years before being fired four games into the 2016 season.

According to the report, Miles is accused of making multiple student employees “feel uncomfortable.” One victim accused Miles of “kissing her” and asking her to go to a hotel with him, promising he could help her career.

The exhaustive report, released Friday by the Husch Blackwell law firm, offers a scathing view of the resources and attention LSU dedicated to such complaints and has resulted in the suspensions of two senior officials in the athletic department.

Husch Blackwell interviewed multiple people who said Miles sexualized the student staff of the football program. He demanded  “pretty girls” and “blondes with big boobs,” according to the report.

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.

The 67-year-old Miles has denied allegations he made sexual advances toward students and has said he merely sought to serve as a mentor for students who expressed an interest in pursuing careers in sports.

However, LSU’s former athletic director Joe Alleva recommended in 2013 that Miles be fired as Tigers football coach because of his behavior with female student workers.

Alleva emailed incoming LSU President F. King Alexander, saying “he is guilty of insubordination, inappropriate behavior, putting the university, athletic department and football program at great risk. I think we have cause. I specifically told him not to text, call, or be alone with any student workers and he obviously didn’t listen.”

On Friday, KU Athletic Director Jeff Long said the university would be conducting a full review of the Husch Blackwell and Taylor Porter reports to determine the appropriate next steps. 

“Even though the allegations against him occurred at LSU, we take these matters very seriously at KU,” Long said Friday.

On Saturday, Miles’ attorney, Peter Ginsberg, said KU’s decision to place Miles on administrative leave was “disturbing and unfair.”

In a statement, Ginsberg said that LSU had conducted an “extensive and thorough” investigation into the allegations eight years ago and concluded that Miles did not engage in any sexual harassment conduct.

Ginsberg went on to say that the NCAA’s newest report conducted by Husch Blackwell has nothing to do with Miles and that the firm did not interview Miles or any other witnesses and only second guessed the previous report.

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