Every year we evaluate the coaching carousel and try to predict where a coach might end up. This year, all the talk is about Tom Herman and whether he will end up at Texas and LSU’s supposed interest in Jimbo Fisher.
To me, the more impactful and lasting story surrounds Les Miles.
Now, you might be scratching your head, but stay with me.
There is another school searching for a new coach, a school that needs a do-over worse than any other school in the nation. That school is in Waco, Texas, and that school needs Les Miles.
Baylor needs Les Miles in the most desperate way. He is the only man I can imagine who can bring healing and provide salve for the open wounds that still plague Baylor and its national perception.
If you’ve never had a chance to visit with Miles one-on-one, let me describe it for you.
He makes you feel. Like really “feel,” down to your core. He fires you up. He makes you reconnect with whatever it was that made you begin in the first place. He is honest and kind.
He’ll leave you so jazzed up after talking to him that you want to run through a brick wall for him. I wanted to suit for him. Seriously.
He also makes you feel special. He helps you to see your uniqueness – instantly. He is zany and irreverent; he often makes you laugh.
When you leave, you feel like you had a figurative Gatorade bath in all that is good in this world, punch-drunk on all you could be.
And his players love him.
They’ve played hard for him. They’ve cried for him. They’ve hoisted him on their shoulders and sung the fight song in his honor (who can forget that image?).
Baylor needs that right now. They need a man strong enough to withstand the winds of (much-needed) change. A man strong enough to set those winds blowing.
They need a man with positive culture spilling out of his pores, one that brings instant credibility, bravado and intestinal fortitude. More than that, they need a man free from controversy and scandal, honest and forthright, a man committed to the truth and bringing Baylor back from the ashes.
They need a man brave enough to do the right thing, in all circumstances. Miles is all of those things and more.
They need a man who can sit in living rooms and promise recruits he’ll be the change that is so desperately needed.
Will his run-first, conservative offensive philosophy fit in the Big 12?
Have you caught a whiff of what Will Muschamp has done at South Carolina this year? I attribute a lot of that success to being fired and learning from his mistakes. I believe the same about Miles. Since being removed at LSU, he said he’s been watching film, studying the game – he wants to coach again in the worst way. He even has a new agent.
I believe in the updated version of Les Miles. I believe there is another act to his offensive approach. I believe he knows he has to adapt to the times.
He’s a ready man, ready should Baylor call to have him bring back glory, but this time, glory with honor. No more plausible deniability. No more blame-shifting. No more looking the other way. No more ignoring the victims. Hell, let his goal be no more victims.
It would be Les Miles 2.0 at Baylor, and that makes all the sense in the world.
What a fitting next chapter that would be for the ousted coach, a chance to rebuild, a chance to heal, a chance to make an impact perhaps even larger than the one he made in Baton Rouge. And what an incredible opportunity for Baylor, which so desperately needs a new beginning. It would not be a new chapter, it would be a new book, one that we’d all look forward to reading.
(You can follow Rachel Baribeau on Twitter @RachelBaribeau)
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