Since the day Beaty was fired, and really even before, Les Miles has been pegged as the front runner to take over the HC job at Kansas.
But a week into the search, is that still the case?
I’m not so sure.
There’s no doubt that Les Miles would be a solid hire for Kansas and could bring in some much needed excitement to the program. And he’s been quoted as saying he’s still interested in coaching again. We also know that it’s been confirmed he does show interest in the Kansas job and the Kansas job has shown interest in him.
But given this, what’s the wait?
There’s a few things that could be at play here.
For one, Les Miles is still getting compensation from LSU which pays him roughly $125,000 a month for the next four years as long as he’s actively looking for another head coaching job. Saying that he’s interested in the Kansas job is pretty much that. And it could be all it really is, acting interest to continue a paycheck.
But per Soren Petro of Sports Radio 810 it could also be Jeff Long and Les Miles waiting until his scheduled payment for this month to make the announcement. His scheduled payments come at the end of each month with this months landing on 11/30.
Les Miles gets paid compensation for what’s left on his LSU contract on the final day of every month. His next payment will come on November 30th. A potential reason why Miles is the guy KU is hiring but hasn’t made official yet.
— Soren Petro (@SorenPetro) November 13, 2018
This could very well be possible but I don’t find it realistic and as beneficial to Kansas. If Les is the guy wouldn’t you want him out recruiting ASAP for a class that currently has only one commit and is ranked 174th in the nation? I definitely would.
The argument against this would be that Les could still recruit, albeit quietly. You’d have to trust the recruits won’t speak up, though, and if they do it could ruin the entire strategy.
I also think it’s possible Jeff Long just isn’t sold on Les Miles as the new HC and is merely keeping him in his back pocket as a safe option. We all know the track record of Les and it’s incredibly impressive. But does being out of coaching for two years and not having a ready staff concern Long? It very well could.
It could also be that Long is just doing his due diligence and not wanting Jayhawk Nation to think Les Miles was the only option. By interviewing multiple prospects it gives the notion that he’s being thorough and making a point to find the right guy.
Imagine if Long named Les Miles HC just a few days after Beaty was fired but in the end it doesn’t work out? How much slack would he catch for not doing a thorough search? I’m sure it would be a lot and it would be heavy.
So, by interviewing multiple prospects, some less impressive than others, he’s making sure Les is the guy and he’s showing Kansas fans he’s putting in the work to be 100% certain. If it were my guess this is the most likely scenario. That is, if Les Miles is his guy.
But here’s the kicker…
I don’t think Les Miles is the guy. I’ve predicted it before and until now I’ve stood by it. But with Long’s misdirection and trolling antics on Twitter I find it hard to believe he’s found his guy. It’s also no secret that Long is a guy that keeps his searches rather tight lipped. So anyone claiming they know who he’s looking at or interviewing could be way off base.
Having said that, I think we’re at least a week away from finding a new HC and potentially even a few weeks. I feel Long really wants to be patient with this hire and knows that the program can’t afford another miss even if he wants to make a hire “sooner rather than later.”
Expect more Flight tracking and wild speculations as the weeks go on. Because I have a feeling it won’t be stopping anytime soon. But when it’s all said and done I’d be willing to bet we’ll be hearing a name announced that none of us saw coming.