Les Miles out at Kansas over behavior with women while at LSU

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Les Miles is out as Kansas’ head coach just days after he was placed on administrative leave amid sexual misconduct allegations from his tenure at LSU.

Kansas announced Miles’ departure Monday night, describing it as a mutual agreement to part ways. Miles has three years left on his original five-year contract with the school that pays him $2.775 million annually through December 2023 and includes several bonuses, among them a $675,000 retention bonus paid last November.

“I am extremely disappointed for our university, fans and everyone involved with our football program,” Kansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement. “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.”

The 67-year-old Miles was 3-18 in two seasons with the Jayhawks. Offensive coordinator Mike DeBord was named acting head coach.

“This is certainly a difficult day for me and for my family,” Miles said in a statement. “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.”

Last week, LSU released a 148-page review by a law firm about the university’s handling of sexual misconduct complaints campus-wide. One part described how Miles “tried to sexualize the staff of student workers in the football program by, for instance, allegedly demanding that he wanted blondes with big breasts, and `pretty girls.”‘

The report also revealed then-LSU athletic director Joe Alleva recommended firing Miles in 2013 to university officials.

Kansas placed Miles on leave later that day and said it would conduct a review of allegations against the coach that it had previously been unaware of.

Kansas said terms of the agreement with Miles on his departure will be released in the coming days.

Miles spent 11-plus seasons with LSU, leading the school to a national title in 2007. He was fired four games into the 2016 season.

Miles was investigated at LSU after two female student workers in the football program accused the coach of inappropriate behavior in 2012.

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.

In an email dated June 2013 and sent to the president of LSU, Alleva wrote Miles was guilty of “insubordination, inappropriate behavior, putting the university, athletic (department) and football program at great risk.”

The Taylor Porter review had been kept confidential for about eight years until a redacted version of it was released this week after a lawsuit filed by USA Today.

For Kansas, Miles’ departure is just the latest setback for what has been college football’s worst Power Five program for a decade. The Jayhawks have not won more than three games in a single season since 2009.

Miles had been out of coaching for two years when Long hired him after the 2018 season, hoping a notable name and experienced coach could help break the apathy that has enveloped the Kansas program for a decade.

Long and Miles were friends dating to their time at Michigan in the late 1980s.

While recruiting has improved under Miles, little else has changed. The Jayhawks were winless last season for the third time in program history, losing by an average of more than 30 points per game.

Kansas has not had a winning season since 2008, the year before Mark Mangino was fired amid allegations of verbal and physical abuse. He was followed by Turner Gill, who won five games over two seasons, and Charlie Weis, who was 6-22 before getting fired four games into the 2014 season.

David Beaty was 6-42 in four seasons in charge of the Jayhawks and sued Kansas for withholding his buyout because of NCAA infractions. Beaty reached a $2.55 million settlement with the school last summer.

Now, with spring football practice around the corner, Kansas is starting over again, still stuck in a deep hole.

Lane Kiffin staying at Ole Miss with ‘a lot of work left to do’

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Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin says he has informed school officials he will be staying at Ole Miss, putting an end to speculation that he was the leading candidate to fill the head coaching vacancy at Auburn.

“Same as I said last week: I’m staying here and we have a lot of work left to do,” Kiffin told The Associated Press in a voice message.

Kiffin added he has not signed a contract extension with the school.

The 47-year-old Kiffin is 23-12 in three seasons as Rebels coach. No. 20 Mississippi finished its regular season 8-4, losing four of its last five, including a 24-22 loss to Mississippi State.

Auburn was playing at No. 8 Alabama in the Iron Bowl, and its coaching search figured to heat up soon after its season concluded.

Auburn fired coach Bryan Harsin earlier this month and has gone 2-1 since under interim coach Carnell Williams, the former star running back for the Tigers.

With Kiffin off the market, Auburn is eyeing a former Mississippi coach to be its next coach.

A person familiar with the search told the AP that Auburn is interested in Liberty coach Hugh Freeze. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because Auburn was not making details of its search public.

Freeze coached at Ole Miss for five seasons before leaving in disgrace in 2017 after the school discovered he used a university cellphone to call an escort service.

He landed at Liberty and has gone 34-14 in four seasons with the Flames.

Nebraska signs Matt Rhule to 8-year deal

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After six straight losing seasons and more than 20 years removed from its 1990s heyday, Nebraska is turning to Matt Rhule to rebuild its program and make it competitive in the Big Ten Conference.

Rhule signed an eight-year contract to be the Cornhuskers’ next coach and will be introduced at a news conference, the school announced.

The 47-year-old Rhule quickly turned around downtrodden programs at Temple and Baylor before leaving for the NFL to coach the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers fired him in October after he started his third season with four losses in five games.

“It is a tremendous honor to be chosen to lead the Nebraska football program,” Rhule said in a statement. “When you think of great, tradition-rich programs in college football, Nebraska is right at the top of the list. The fan base is second to none, and I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to coach in Memorial Stadium on Tom Osborne Field. My family and I are so grateful to become a part of the Husker Family, and we can’t wait to get started.”

Rhule was 11-27 with Carolina and left with about $40 million remaining on the seven-year, guaranteed $62 million contract he signed in 2020. The contract made Rhule the sixth-highest paid coach in the NFL when he signed in 2020, according to Forbes.

Nebraska said it would release details of Rhule’s contract.

“It is a privilege to welcome Coach Matt Rhule, his wife, Julie, and their family to Nebraska,” athletic director Trev Alberts said. “Coach Rhule has created a winning culture throughout his coaching career, and he will provide great leadership for the young men in our football program.

“Matt is detail-oriented, his teams are disciplined and play a physical brand of football. Matt also has the personality and relationship-building skills to build a great staff and excel in recruiting.”

About an hour after Rhule’s hiring was announced, wide receiver Trey Palmer announced on Instagram that he would declare for the NFL draft. Palmer, who transferred from LSU after last season, had three 150-yard games this year and set the Huskers’ single-season record with 1,043 yards.

The Huskers are among eight Football Bowl Subdivision programs with at least 900 wins, and they have won or shared five national championships. The last one came in 1997 under Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne.

Five coaches have come and gone since then, most recently the quarterback of that ’97 team, Scott Frost.

Alberts fired Frost on Sept. 11 after the Huskers opened 1-2, with losses to Northwestern in Ireland and to Georgia Southern at home. They were 3-6 under interim coach Mickey Joseph and finished the season 4-8 following a 24-17 win at Iowa.

Nebraska was 16-31 in four-plus seasons under Frost, never finishing higher than fifth in the Big Ten West or going to a bowl.

In four seasons at Temple, Rhule coached the Owls to 28 wins. That included 26 from 2014-16. Temple was 10-4 in 2015 and reached the American Athletic Conference’s inaugural championship game. In 2016, Rhule led the Owls to a 10-3 record and an AAC championship. The conference title was the first in 49 seasons for the Temple program, and the Owls reached bowl games in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.

Rhule was named Baylor’s coach in December 2016 in the wake of an investigation that found the private Baptist university had not responded adequately to allegations of sexual assault by players, resulting in the firing of Art Briles.

Rhule’s trajectory was similar at Baylor, where he went from 1-11 in 2017 to 7-6 with a bowl game the next season. In his third and final season, Baylor was ranked in the top 10, played in the Big 12 championship game and finished 11-3 after a Sugar Bowl loss to Georgia.

Rhule’s collegiate success provided him the opportunity to take over as the Carolina Panthers’ head coach in 2020. He guided the Panthers to five wins in each of his first two seasons before this year’s 1-4 start got him fired.

Rhule has ties to the Big Ten. He moved from New York City to State College, Pennsylvania, as a teenager. He played linebacker at Penn State from 1994-97 and began his coaching there as a volunteer assistant.