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Kansas Football: 11 Coaching Candidates to Replace Les Miles

Les Miles, Kansas Jayhawks Football

Les Miles, Kansas Jayhawks Football

Kansas and coach Les Miles agreed to part ways on Monday night. The mutual parting comes just days after Miles was placed on administrative leave after the law firm Husch Blackwell released an extensive report regarding allegations of sexual misconduct from the head coach during his tenure at LSU. Miles went just 3-18 at Kansas and won only one Big 12 game in two years. Offensive coordinator Mike DeBord will work as the acting head coach but an interim is expected to be named in the near future.

Who could replace Miles at Kansas? Here are 11 names to watch in the coaching search:

Kansas Football: 11 Coaching Candidates to Replace Les Miles

Craig Bohl, Head Coach, Wyoming

Bohl is a native of Nebraska and spent time coaching in Lincoln, along with stops at Wyoming and North Dakota State. Kansas would be familiar territory for Bohl and he’s got a track record of winning and getting the most out of a roster at tough jobs. From 2003-13, Bohl guided the Bison to a 104-32 mark with three FCS titles. He took over at Wyoming in 2014 and proceeded to go 6-18 in his first two years but is 32-26 over the last five seasons.

Troy Calhoun, Head Coach, Air Force

Calhoun’s ability to get the most out of a roster, along with an option-based offense, would be a good fit at Kansas. He’s 101-72 since taking over at his alma mater and won 11 games at the Academy in 2019. The Falcons have just four losing seasons under Calhoun.

Chris Creighton, Head Coach, Eastern Michigan

Don’t let Creighton’s 30-51 record at Eastern Michigan fool you: This is one of the toughest jobs in college football. Despite the difficulty, the Eagles have been to three bowl games (after only making one previous trip in program history) over the last five years. Prior to taking over at Eastern Michigan, Creighton had experience coaching in the Midwest from stints at Drake (41-22), Wabash (63-15) and Ottawa (32-9).

Willie Fritz, Head Coach, Tulane

Fritz is a native of Kansas and a proven head coach from a handful of stops, including Central Missouri, Sam Houston State, Georgia Southern and Tulane. He’s worked as a head coach since 1997 and compiled an overall record of 183-102.

Tom Herman, Former Texas Coach

While Herman’s tenure didn’t work out at Texas, he’s due for another chance to be a head coach in college football. After working as an offensive coordinator at Texas State, Rice, Iowa State and Ohio State, Herman went 22-4 as Houston’s head coach from 2015-16. He was dismissed after the 2020 season at Texas but went 32-18 over four years. Herman is slated to work 2021 as an analyst with the Chicago Bears.

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Kevin Kane, Associate/OLB Coach, Illinois

Kane is a native of Kansas City, Mo. and played his college ball at Kansas. While he's young (37), his experience and familiarity with the job is a huge positive. Also, Kane has built a solid resume as an assistant, spending time at Northern Illinois, Kansas, SMU and Illinois since 2011.

Skip Holtz, Head Coach, Louisiana Tech

Holtz enters the 2021 season with an overall record at 149-112 with stops at four different FBS programs. From 1994-98, Holtz guided UConn to a 34-23 record at the FCS level, followed by a five-year run at East Carolina (38-27). Holtz’s tenure didn’t work out at USF (16-21), but he’s rebounded at Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs have just one losing season and an overall mark of 61-41 since 2013.

Lance Leipold, Head Coach, Buffalo

Leipold knows how to build a program and has won at a high level at two different jobs. From 2007-14, Leipold went 109-6 and won six Division III titles at Wisconsin-Whitewater. After a 7-17 start at Buffalo, Leipold has won at least six games in each of the last four seasons, claimed two MAC East titles and is 37-33 at one of the conference’s toughest jobs.

Sean Lewis, Head Coach, Kent State

Lewis is one of the youngest head coaches at the FBS level and has helped Kent State improve significantly over the last three years. After a 2-10 debut in 2018, Lewis guided the Golden Flashes to a 7-6 record and a bowl win in ’19 and finished 3-1 in the abbreviated ’20 season. He spent time as an assistant at Syracuse, Bowling Green and Eastern Illinois prior to taking over at Kent State.

Jeff Monken, Head Coach, Army

Yes, running the option isn’t as appealing as a high-powered passing game, but switching to this style of offense would make Kansas a difficult out in the Big 12. Monken would be a perfect fit if the Jayhawks want to go a different route on offense. After going 38-16 at Georgia Southern from 2010-13, he’s 49-39 at Army since ’14. Monken has guided the Black Knights to three bowl games over the last four years.

Jay Norvell, Head Coach, Nevada

Norvell has a wealth of experience on his resume from stints at Wisconsin, Iowa State, Nebraska, UCLA, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona State and in the NFL with the Raiders and Colts. Norvell took over at Nevada in 2017 and brought steady improvement to the program over the last couple of seasons. The Wolf Pack finished 3-9 in ’17 but have won at least seven games in each of the last three years. Norvell’s overall mark in Reno sits at 25-22 going into 2021.

Les Miles photo courtesy of kuathletics.com