Who is the more entertaining head coach: Les Miles or Steve Spurrier?
Debate: Who is the more entertaining head coach: Les Miles or Steve Spurrier?
Athlon editors Braden Gall and Patrick Snow debate:
Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden): Les Miles buffoonery is unparalled in college athletics, but I have to go with Steve Spurrier on this one. I have only stood in the same room as Spurrier once in my life, but it was one of the most memorable media experiences I have had in my career. When the Ol' Ball Coach walks into a room there's a palpable spike in energy and excitement.
Some of it is his resume – which includes multiple Heisman Trophies, including one of his own, six SEC titles and the all-important National Championship ring. But most of it's just Spurrier – a man with a personality befitting a late-night Comedy Central special and delivery that rivals that of Richard Pryor. The voice inflection alone is hysterical.
The man has coined barbs like “Free Shoes University ” and “You can’t spell Citrus Bowl without UT,” referring to intimate rivals Florida State and Tennessee. Spurrier’s antics on the sideline include munching, throwing and stomping on his own signature visor – as well as his quarterbacks’ egos.
A few years ago, Spurrier even went so far as to leave Florida Heisman winner Tim Tebow off his All-SEC ballot at the preseason media event, garnering national press for the “gaffe.” (If anyone believes that it wasn’t an intentional shot at his former employer is simply fooling themselves.)
The best one from 2011 media days in Birmingham on Wednesday?
“I guess we just don’t want to kick him out for stupidity,” said Spurrier about oft-suspended quarterback Stephen Garcia.
Some other Spurrier greats over the years:
“Obviously my last two years in the NFL were not much fun at all.”
"In 12 years at Florida, I don't think we ever signed a kid from the state of Alabama. Of course, we found out later that the scholarships they were giving out at Alabama were worth a whole lot more than ours."
"Yeah, we had a little excitement there. A streaker ran through. Looked fast too, but It's always been my opinion that women make the best streakers, " referring to his first scrimmage at South Carolina when a streaker showed-up.
"Is Ray Goff still the head coach there?" When asked if his Florida team would beat Georgia one year. Spurrier would refer to the rival coach as Ray "Goof" on a regular basis.
“I know why Peyton [Manning] came back for his senior year: he wanted to be a three-time Citrus Bowl MVP"
“We've got to coach them to tackle and block better. It's as simple as that. If we can do those things, we'll have a chance.”
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): I appreciate a swarthy quote or a visor toss from the Ol’ Ball Coach every now and then, but Les Miles is the most entertaining coach in the SEC and all of college football. There is no one in the nation that makes a fourth quarter more exciting – whether you have an interest in LSU, the opponent or just like college football – than Coach Miles. It might be a holder tossing the pigskin over his shoulder so the kicker can run for a first down; it might be letting the clock run freely while his offense is in the two-minute drill; or it might be throwing a last-second touchdown pass when you only need a field goal to win. No team is more fun to watch than LSU in a close game.
And all of that is just on the field. When it comes to a halftime interview or postgame press conference, nobody can keep up with Miles in the entertainment department. Spurrier is as obnoxious as he funny, while Miles provides comedic material on a constant basis. Who else eats grass? What other coach has a website dedicated to his quotes? Check out these gems:
“When I wake up in the morning and I turn that film on, it’s like reading a book and it’s exciting. I don’t read books, but if I read books, it would be like reading a book.”
"It seems to me that so many times each year that you play and each game that you play are very specific."
"Louisiana has a heritage of great players that play their high school football within the boundaries of Louisiana."
"We never considered what ended up being going for a first down, which is what we got with the fake anyway."
"I think the excitement of a big game will take place in our building and with our team irrespective of the outward view and those people who are watching."
You’re not going to get material like that from Spurrier. In fact, this debate is not even a fair fight - Braden must feel like Napoleon Kaufman at Waterloo. Miles is a force when it comes to being an entertaining coach, but he also gets the job done on the field. Sometimes you watch LSU and feel like the Mad Hatter has them lining up in circles and pairing up in threes, but the reality is that he has gone 62-17 with a national title after six seasons in Baton Rouge.
The game needs more coaches like Miles, who will say whatever comes to mind instead of being so cliché. I can’t wait to see the LSU-Oregon mathcup, both for the football product and the guaranteed entertainment Miles will provide during and after the game. In the boring world of paranoid dictators and coach-speak, I appreciate having a big-time coach like Les Miles on the sidelines. Remember it’s college football; it’s not exactly rocket surgery.