Connecting the dots on a quiet Friday during the 2018 KU football coaching search
3:35 pm update:
Well, it was a quiet day. But that changed quickly about an hour after I posted this, when a Sports Illustrated report surfaced that said Miles & KU we’re finalizing a contract.
Obviously that’s big news for KU and a huge deal for Long. It’s also in line with what we’ve been hearing all along and how Long has conducted himself during this search.
We’re working to confirm more and find out details now and will provide updates as we get them.
But it seems safe to start planning the celebration, Kansas fans. Now more than ever it looks like Les Miles is coming to Lawrence.
Although I’m continuing to hear from people who believe Les Miles eventually will be the next football coach at Kansas, it appears there is nothing doing today.
In the eyes of Kansas fans who were energized and excited by yesterday’s news of Miles’ settlement with LSU, that has to be a bit disappointing.
Twitter, message boards and various other places have been full of grand plans of Miles being introduced tonight at the Kansas basketball game and, unless things change in the next few hours or are being wildly hidden, that does not look all that likely.
Here’s a connect-the-dots reason why.
For one, a morning check with KU officials said no announcement regarding KU’s search for a new football coach had been scheduled for today.
Later, a source with knowledge of KU’s search told me that nothing had been “done” and no announcement was pending.
Obviously those two things match up pretty well. Add to that the fact that most of the rumor chatter last night was about a noon announcement today and Miles being introduced tonight and it’s clear that half of that equation is now impossible since it’s past noon.
The final tell in Friday’s fun came just before 1 p.m., when KU AD Jeff Long Tweeted out a picture from the KU bus en route to the airport for the KU football team’s weekend trip to Oklahoma. Hard to imagine Miles being introduced at tonight’s game with Long in Oklahoma.
And I hear all of you conspiracy theorists out there who are wondering if Long had the picture sent to him from someone on the bus and then Tweeted it out as if he were on there, as well.
I’ll give you that Long’s had some fun with Twitter during the past couple of weeks — and, really, throughout his carer — so you can’t completely rule that out. But we’re talking like a 0.05% chance of that being the case.
And if those are the lengths that Long is going to to drop the surprise introduction of the century on Allen Fieldhouse tonight, good for him. To quote Vermont basketball coach John Becker when asked this week about Lagerald Vick’s explosive night, “Sometimes all you can do is tip your cap to a guy.”
I know many of you have mixed emotions about Long's exploits on Twitter, but I'm a fan. And I think KU is lucky to have a leader who's willing to be out there and engage with the fan base on an informal level. It's still college athletics, right? It should still be fun.
Just this afternoon, Long responded with the crying/laughing emoji face to a Tweet that joked that Doobie Brother Michael McDonald was taking over Kansas football.
I mean, if you can't laugh at that, why are you even on Twitter?
Trust me, just because Long spends 12 seconds Tweeting out a decoy photo of a Los Angeles sunset does not mean he's not taking this thing seriously. He's a pro. He's as sharp as they come. He has confidence, charisma and connections. And he's been in control of this whole thing from Minute 1.
So the search goes on, or at least the waiting does.
With Thanksgiving next week, it’s hard to know how that might affect the timeline here, and, according to a recent Sports Illustrated article about Miles’ settlement with LSU, the former Tigers coach is in no rush.
Kansas is and should be. But if you can land a guy like Les Miles, you don’t blow it by being pushy at the finish line.
It’s possible that Miles wants to take one more trip around the college football rumor mill to see if there are any other jobs/schools out there who want to make a run at him. And who could blame him? Just because only a couple of jobs are open today does not mean more vacancies are not coming in the near future. Miles' patience could be in play here, as well.
That’s not to say he doesn’t like KU. And the delay could be a negotiating ploy. Or it could just be that Miles truly is in no rush and will only say yes to whatever job he wants to take when he’s ready.
We’ve got a call into Miles’ agent — wouldn’t that be a fun conversation to have right now — and Benton just got back to the office from the Lawrence airport, where he formed a one-man welcoming crew for the arrival of a flight from Lafayette, La.
Could it have had Les Miles on it? Sure. Louisiana’s Louisiana, right? Did it? Nope. Just some Ragin’ Cajun fans coming up for tonight’s game — as expected.
I'll let you know if they introduce themselves at halftime.