University of Kansas

Les Miles explains the origins of his grass-eating habit; it started in the 1960s

Most Kansas fans — by now — realize that football coach Les Miles is known for famously eating grass on the sideline during a 2010 rivalry game between LSU and Alabama.

It turns out that tradition, though, started more than 40 years before then ... as Miles explained during Big 12 media days on Monday.

“I played right field. If you guys know what that means, generally speaking, it’s not a place where everybody hit the ball,” Miles said. “So at times, I would get dry mouth, and I would reach down and I would pick up about a blade, and I would bite, just get a little taste in my mouth.

“It worked pretty well. Considering I started that at about 11 to 12, it didn’t come out national news until I was probably 58.”

Miles’ grass-eating ways received a boost of attention again this week, as tennis player Novak Djokovic — after defeating Roger Federer in the WImbledon final — picked up some sod to taste it.

The 65-year-old Miles, when told about Djokovic’s celebration, said he was in favor of it.

“You know what? I recommend to most people that enjoy the relationship with green grass to take a nibble now and then,” Miles said with a smile. “I don’t think you need a big bite, but I think a nibble now and then ... if it has to coincide with a championship, so be it.”

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Jesse Newell — he’s won an EPPY for best sports blog and previously has been named top beat writer in his circulation by AP’s Sports Editors — has covered KU sports since 2008. His interest in sports analytics comes from his math teacher father, who handed out rulers to Trick-or-Treaters each year.
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