Les Miles is reportedly about to be back on the free agent market and no one should be happier about that than USC Athletic Director Pat Haden. If Miles is, indeed, about to coach his last game at LSU when the Tigers take on Texas A&M in Baton Rouge on Saturday, he is about to become the hottest commodity on the market for programs currently without a permanent head coach — cough, cough USC.
It wouldn’t be surprising at all if the second Haden heard the news, he instantly picked up his phone and gave Miles a ring to deliver him his recruiting pitch on why Southern California should be his next stop on the head coaching trail. College football coaches follow the economic model of supply and demand. There are only so many of them out there and there are only a handful of really good ones — Miles is one of those select few.
The 62-year old Miles would be the first legitimately proven winner of head coaches to become available ever since USC parted ways with Steve Sarkisian in October. If Miles were to fall into the laps of the Trojans, it would be viewed as instant home run hire for Haden — unlike back in 2013 when Haden made the mistake of hiring Sarkisian, who had never won more than nine games in a single season.
What does everyone surrounding the USC program always say they want? National championships. The only coach out there that can say he’s achieved that is none other than Miles. Not to forget, he had the highest winning percentage (.775) of any LSU coach in the past century, led the Tigers to two SEC titles and they’ve also finished atop the grueling SEC West three times over the course of his tenure.
It’s crazy to think that LSU boosters would want to pay a pricey figure of what’s reported to be in the upwards of $15 million and say bon voyage to him and his staff in the first place, especially after starting out the season 7-0.
Haden should thank those boosters for being so generous. If the justification for their decision to want to part ways with Miles is that they expect to win national championships in Louisiana, then so be it. Another school where coaches are held to the same standard is USC and Miles could be the first step in making that goal of a national title attainable once again for the Trojans program.
Despite USC losing their head coach mid-season and being plagued by injuries to a number of key players including starting center Max Tuerk, this USC team is in a position to win the Pac-12 South division and earn a trip to the conference championship game to play Stanford should it defeat crosstown rival UCLA at home this Saturday.
Interim head coach Clay Helton has done a relatively good job of picking up the programs’ spirits and taking it over the mountain of adversity in which it faced. USC, however, is still in need of a head coach that is going to lead it to double-digit win seasons for many years to come. Since 2009, the program has only won ten games in a season twice.
Long-term success in college football starts and with recruiting and Miles has an excellent track record of attracting the nation’s best talent to his program. LSU currently has the No. 1 ranked recruiting class in the country, according to the 2016 ESPN RecruitingNation rankings. With National Signing Day in February right around the corner, Miles would be an invaluable asset on the recruiting trail for USC.
For a change, the Trojans are in the right place at the right time and Miles’s sudden availability must serve as a sign to Haden. He better capitalize on this tremendous opportunity to snag Miles before another school with a head coaching vacancy, like Miami, does.