“I don’t know if I ever took the field, in a responsible position without the hat.” Les Miles
Les Miles and his hat are 85-20 at LSU.
The beginning of the legend
Unless you’re a hardcore college football fan, you probably don’t remember the name Leslie Edwin “Les” Miles before January 2, 2005. That was the day he was named head coach of the LSU Tigers, replacing Nick Saban, who left the bayou to make the jump to the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League.
Since that January day in 2005, Les Miles has won and he’s won big. He has compiled an 85-20 record, including a 47-17 mark in the Southeastern Conference. Miles has also gone 5-2 in bowl games, three of which have been BCS Bowls. Miles also led the Tigers to the 2007 BCS Championship, a title that at the time, was their second in five years.
The hat's background
Miles attended the University of Michigan, where he played under former Wolverine legend Bo Schembechler. Miles also coached under Schembechler in 1980. Miles’ style of play reminds some of his former Michigan boss, with his physical brand of football and power running game.
Miles took over as head coach at Oklahoma State in 2001. The Cowboys finished 4-7 in Miles first year, but finished each of the next three seasons with winning records (8-5, 9-4, 7-5) and three straight bowl appearances.
Miles’ first year on the job in Baton Rouge was stressful to say the least. Dealing with two hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, LSU finished 10-1 and and won the SEC West crown only to be defeated in the SEC Championship Game by the Georgia Bulldogs.
In 2006, Miles gave LSU their first back to back 10 win seasons as he coached the Tigers to a 10-2 record including a 41-14 win versus Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.
Makes you hold your breath
The hat throws are tough running game, physical defense and play calls that keep you on the edge of your seat.
In 2007, Miles gained national attention due to his unconventional play calling. This would also be the year the mantra, “The Mad Hatter,” was born. Miles and the Tigers would win the SEC crown and subsequently watch Missouri and West Virginia, who were ranked one and two go down to defeat. These losses moved the Tigers to number two in the BCS and would set up a showdown versus Ohio State for the BCS National Championship. The Tigers defeated the Buckeyes 38-24, giving Coach Miles his first title and the Tigers their third.
The last three years (2010-2012) may have been the best for “The Hat”, as he has gone 34-5 and cemented LSU as one of the elite programs in college football. Whether you love him or hate him, you have to put Les Miles at or near the top of any coaching rankings. Winning in the toughest division, in the toughest conference year after year speak volumes of the guy the fans and media like to call “The Mad Hatter.”
Top Les Miles Nicknames:
- The Mad Hatter
- The Hat
- The Mad Scientist
- Lester Miles
- The Dominator
- The Luck of Les
- Lester The Clock Molestor
- Les Miles - Your Time Management Specialist
Top 5 Les Miles Play Calls and Blunders:
September 22, 2007 - With a 14-7 lead over South Carolina, Les Miles wasn’t content going to the half with a 10 point lead, so he pulled this baby out of the hat versus the Ole Ball Coach.
Will Miles save a signature moment for Clemson on New Years Eve?
October 2, 2010 - The Tigers were able to sniff out a 16-14 win over Derek Dooley and the Tennessee Volunteers. This was one of Les’ best clock management performances.
September 26, 2005 - Les Miles and his LSU Tigers built a 21-0 halftime lead, but Tennessee, behind backup quarterback Casey Clausen came storming back and defeated the Tigers 30-27 in overtime. In the fourth quarter, LaRon Landry picks off Clausen, while Les Miles tries and almost succeeds at calling a timeout on a change of possession.
October 9, 2010 - This is Les at his best. As LSU lines up for an apparent field goal attempt, the holder tosses the ball over his shoulder to the kicker. The ball hits the ground and bounces right into the kickers hands as he picks up the yardage for the first down.
October 20, 2007 - This has to be Les’ greatest moment, whether he knew what he was doing or not. LSU trailed Auburn by one point late in the fourth, and instead of setting up for the winning field goal, quarterback Matt Flynn throws to the endzone and hits Demetrius Byrd for the winning score with just one second left.