that makes one of us
Okay, so Jim Carty responded to the Friday "Les Miles sux" post and didn't even make any uncomplimentary comparisons about my appearance. I feel heelish; well played. But I still think Miles is a tremendous long shot for a hypothetically available Michigan job. Carty offers up the hiring of John Beilein as evidence that the Michigan of the 70s and 80s and even the early 90s no longer exists:
Here's but one example: When it was first suggested Michigan hire John Beilein to replace Tommy Amaker, the overwhelming opinion among old guard in-state media, and old guard fans, was that Michigan would never approach a coach with a huge buyout, let alone a coach with no Michigan ties and a track record for job hopping.
Time and time again, I was told I didn't know Michigan when I pushed Beilein for the job.
This is not a valid comparison. One: people who said that Michigan would never pay John Beilein's huge buyout were right. Michigan contributed not a dime to it; Beilein and his magic lawyer later got the amount knocked down considerably. Two: Tommy Amaker had no Michigan ties when he was hired and no other candidate suggested or seriously rumored had any. There are precious few Michigan ties around the coaching ranks aside from a couple of NBA assistants. Three: Beilein's job hopping wasn't out of line for any coach working his way up the prestige latter.
The attributes Beilein brings to the job are pure old-school Michigan: an innocuous, genteel public persona. A reputation for cleanliness beyond compare. A focus on fundamentals, execution, and outworking the opponent. The only thing even slightly new school about Beilein is the size of his contract, and Michigan's unwillingness to pay a market rate has been overblown by the media -- primarily Terry Foster -- from day one. Amaker had a market contract when he signed and would have kept pace with his coaching peers if he had achieved any success. His 900k buyout was a "deferred compensation" account he was getting either way. Beilein reinforces the existing stereotypes of Michigan's priorities. They would like to win, yes, but only in a certain way.
Hiring Miles would be a virtual 180 from the Beilein hire, the equivalent of grabbing John Calipari or Bob Huggins. Each has experienced a lot of success with highly recruited athletes; each has been dogged with unproven but persistent rumors about the sort of programs they run; each maintains a sketchy public persona. The problem with Miles isn't that he dropped the f-bomb at an alumni function, it's that he followed that up with intemperate comments about USC and is further whining in the press about how tough the SEC is and how that justifies LSU's candy nonconference scheduling. Maybe the Jerry Springer crowd (w00t cultural references ten years out of date, Simmons has nothing on me) digs his combative style, but dollars to donuts the Michigan athletic department sees it as unprincipled and undignified, especially after last year's Urban Meyer campaigning. Hiring him would be a major departure for the athletic department; the Beilein hire only reinforces that.
This concludes my speculation on the motives and thought processes of others. Personal opinon follows.
Should Miles be given a shot?
I guess he might warrant an interview; I would be disappointed if he was the guy. I assume that LSU and Okie State are the sorts of places that will overlook a lot in the hopes of winning some games, and while Michigan isn't Stanford they do have some standards. If Miles' advantages lie mostly in his willingness to be sketchier than the average bear then he is of little use to Michigan.
Personally, I believe that they do. Okie State was like a slightly better version of Minnesota when Miles was there, and his consecutive two loss seasons at LSU are fairly impressive but are built on a Saban-collected gold mine of talent. While Carty's right that dismissing those results out of hand is excessive, I am disturbed by the widely held opinion amongst SEC fans that Miles is the stupidest coach in the conference. Even LSU fans seem kind of unimpressed.
LSU seems to be a ramshackle train of enormous talent that implodes on a regular basis because it is lax, undisiciplined, and plain dumb. Take Miles away from the ridiculously fertile recruiting grounds of Louisiana and slap his hand when he tries to import guys who can't spell "cat" in three tries and visions of Michigan State dance in front of my eyes. My personal preference is for either a proven tactical expert like Jeff Tedford or someone who will just recruit his ass off. What, exactly, is Les Miles good at? He must be good at something, but I don't know what it is.