Two weeks after KU athletic director Jeff Long fired David Beaty, the search for the Jayhawks’ next football coach is over.
Les Miles was hired Sunday, Long announced. Miles exited a jet with his family at Topeka’s Forbes Field on Sunday morning and headed into a SUV with Kansas athletic officials. He will be introduced at a 5 p.m. news conference (watch a live stream here).
“Since the beginning of our search, we focused on identifying and recruiting an experienced head coach with a strong track record of success on and off the field,” Long said in a release issued Sunday afternoon. “Les Miles is exactly what we need for our program right now.”
According to the release, Miles will receive a five-year contract that will pay him $2,775,000 annually. He also will receive additional retention bonuses in 2020 and 2022.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the KU football program and I am grateful to Chancellor Girod and Jeff Long for the opportunity,” Miles said. “We will bring Jayhawk football back and we will do it with outstanding coaches, tremendous student-athletes of character and ability and an unrelenting drive for excellence.”
Other details from the signed deal: Neither side has a buyout, meaning if Miles or KU wants out of the agreement early, it would owe the other side an amount equal to money remaining on the contract.
Miles also gets incentive payments for accomplishments like making the national championship game ($1 million), winning Big 12 coach of the year ($50,000) or having the football program’s GPA above 2.65 ($25,000).
Perhaps the most fascinating incentive is Miles receiving a “one-year, one-time, rollover extension” if he wins six games in a season.
Miles’ plane flew into Topeka on Sunday morning from Raleigh, N.C., a day after he attended North Carolina’s football game against Western Carolina on Saturday in nearby Chapel Hill. His son, Manny, threw his first career touchdown pass for the Tar Heels in the game.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Plane has landed <a href="https://t.co/x3HKpezJ8D">pic.twitter.com/x3HKpezJ8D</a></p>— Jesse Newell (@jessenewell) <a href="https://twitter.com/jessenewell/status/1064188000786104325?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 18, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Got SUVs waiting here at Topeka airport. KU administrators spotted in these vehicles. <a href="https://t.co/lrvw0HZvam">pic.twitter.com/lrvw0HZvam</a></p>— Jesse Newell (@jessenewell) <a href="https://twitter.com/jessenewell/status/1064187010980741120?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 18, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
On Thursday, LSU announced a $1.5 million buyout settlement with Miles that officially closed out his previous contract with the school where he won the 2007 national championship.
Long has plenty of familiarity with Miles. The two worked together at Michigan from 1988-94 when Long was an administrator and Miles was an assistant coach. Current KU associate athletic director Mike Vollmar also was with Miles at Michigan while serving in an administrative position from 1988-90.
Miles replaces Beaty, who was told last week by Long that he would not be retained as KU’s coach following the season. Beaty is 6-40 in his four seasons with two games remaining. Miles, who turned 65 on Saturday, has a career coaching record of 142-55.