Les Miles is the SEC’s most underrated head coach

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Iowa vs Louisiana State

Underrate. What does that mean? Webster’s defines it as ‘to rate too low’.

Two SEC head coaches come to mind when talking about the most underrated: Les Miles and Mark Richt, both of whom have won multiple SEC Championships, and both coaches are largely underappreciated.

But let me tell you why Miles is the SEC’s most underrated head coach.

Known for his downright quirky self, Les Miles has recorded seven 10-win seasons in nine years at LSU, including five where he won 11 or more, and he won a BCS National Championship in 2007 and played for another in 2011. He’s a gambler, a poor clock manager and is the gift that keeps giving incredible one-liners. In 2008-09, Miles went 17-9 in back-to-back seasons, but that’s been the lowest point during his tenure.

Could any coach with a pulse win as much as Miles at LSU? With the Tigers’ tradition, resources, facilities and fertile backyard full of top prospects, could just anyone duplicate what Miles has done? LSU had just three winning seasons in 1989-99, but Greg McElroy would tell you Les Miles owes it to Nick Saban.

Les Miles has done more at LSU in the last nine seasons and continually receives less credit than he deserves.

Athlon Sports ranked all the head coaches in college football for 2014, and Miles ranked behind Mark Richt and fifth overall. Miles has a better overall winning percentage (.798 vs. .737) and a better SEC winning percentage (.722 vs. .692) than Richt. Like Richt, Miles has won two SEC Championships, but he’s also won a national championship in 2007 and played for another in 2011. In the past six seasons, Georgia has played 17 SEC teams that finished above .500 in league play, and Georgia’s record is 4-13 (.235). That’s, well, underachieving. And Miles has accomplished all of this playing in college football’s toughest division.

Not only is Miles a very good head coach and dynamic recruiter, but he can put a serious staff together. He has arguably the country’s top recruiter in running backs coach Frank Wilson. He made a dynamite hire in Cam Cameron to coordinate his offense, and the longevity and sustainability of John Chavis’ defenses have certainly added to Miles’ success and tenure. But who put that staff together? Exactly. You’ll notice there has also been low coaching turnover in Miles’ tenure.

Outside of Nick Saban and maybe Steve Spurrier or Gus Malzahn, what other SEC coach would you want leading your program? Give me Les Miles, and you can have whomever else you want.

Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports



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  • He can win a Championship but can’t seem to beat one of the most underated teams in the SEC

    • he’s talking about ole piss, but he likes to forget when Mett did a mercy kneel with 5 mins left in the game 52-3. I don’t blame him though, i’d want to forget that too. It’s bad when Tulane still has more SEC championships than ole piss. Ole piss fans don’t know that there is a championship game played after the regular season. Ignorance is bliss.

    • don’t get me wrong, i’m not a les miles fan at all, but he’s 6-3 vs ole miss in his nine years at LSU and the loss last year was mettenberger’s fault because mett kept trying to force deep throws when ole miss had three deep safeties. i guess ya have to live in the moment when you’re an ole miss fan.

  • ROFLMAO…. The bears got lucky one game and your not underated… your an underachiever!

  • Les is substantially better than then the vast majority of alternatives and, in this matter, Les is definitely more!

    Had I a son who was presented with choosing either Les Miles or Nick Saban as his collegiate Coach, I would rather have a son and would recommend he receive tutelage from a successful complete human being than from successful complete a$$#ole. Sign with LSU my son!

    Dear Mr. Greg McElroy,

    You are invited to put down the Crimson Kool-aid and get a taste of reality.

    As much as it causes involuntary retching to say it, U of Alabama football has been great and will likely be great regardless of the current coach, mostly because of the traditions, ethics and expectations established by one Paul “Bear” Bryant. Alabama’s recent and likely continued success is not unprecedented.

    Therefore, applying your logic, for lack of a more ironic term, Nick Saban’s success is due primarily to Bear Bryant.

    LSU’s success under Les Miles is unprecedented even when comparison to the vaunted success of the ex-Miami Dolphin Head Coach, and Danute Cullpepper over Drew Brees selecting Saban. On behalf of the WhoDat NAtion , “Thanks, Nick. That decision is like the best of all beignets, sweet, sweeter, and sweetest.”

    In case you missed the spirit of this missive, Mr. McElroy, you should simply STFU!

    • drew wanted to go to miami but dr james andrews told saban that brees likely wouldn’t be able to throw anything more than a short pass at the start of the season, and might not be able to throw at all for the start of the season. andrews also said that it was likely that brees would only be able to throw medium range passes by the end of the season. as it turned out, brees was ready to play at the start of the season and was 100% a few weeks into the season. things could have been really different for saban in miami and he got royaly screwed on the advice he got from dr andrews. when saban passed on brees, new orleans was the only team in the league that expressed open interest in brees.

      so the way you’re telling this story that saban was a knucklehead for passing on brees isn’t entirely accurate.

  • I totally agree with this. He’s had sustained success in the toughest division in football, winning about 10 a year. His own fans want to get rid of him every other year even though only 1 team (maybe 2) have won more games overall during his tenure (Boise St.). Great success, hilarious guy, & seems like a good dude. Nothing I can find to dislike from a rival fan….

  • miles underrated?… plz, there’s about two dozen coaches that could win with all the talent that LSU attracts.

    i’m hoping that miles is forced out and replaced by cam before another school or pro team offers cam a job that he can’t refuse.

    • Oh god. We’d be more likely to get Stovalled/Zook’ed/Muschamped. It’s not often you find back to back good head coaches. You better enjoy this while it lasts because it won’t last forever. How old are you anyway? Do you remember the 90’s?

      • Agreed, and you’re a sensible LSU fan for saying that. No major conference team has won more than LSU during Miles’ tenure. Trust me, if we average 10 wins a year & throw in a National Championship (also play in another) over the next decade, we’d rename our stadium. I guess it’s all about perspective. I know some of your fellow LSU fans bitch about Miles, but it sure as hell could be worse. About 120 out of 126 FBS teams could vouch for that…..

  • If we created an index by dividing wins by total star ratings of recruits how would the SEC coaches rank in that index. Let’s call that the Wolf index. It’s always the job of the head coach to make sure that athletes are good citizens, how does Les Miles do on this fundamental issue. Same question for academic performance. To be totally fair coaching staffs who get top academic recruits might not be promoting academics enough either. So lets have an index for that too. The Brain Trainer index. It might be cause lighting to strike me if I tried to put my name on that one.

  • Les Miles’ # 1 job is to win football games. That’s how he is judged by his boss …..period. That’s how it works in this league. How he recruits the state is important. And how many butts are in the stadium seats on Saturday. Thats why he’s paid millions and that’s how he keeps his job. Everything else are nice to have. That way all over this league. If Miles graduates alot of players and they are all good citizens etc. But, he doesn’t win and doesn’t compete year in and year out for the West. He’s gone!

  • Les can bring in the talent. No doubt. His “Xs and Os” ability has always been questionable at best. I think his hiring a REAL offensive coordinator has shown that he has the ability to know where his weaknesses are and also shows he is willing to address those weaknesses. Could anyone win with the talent at LSU? Sure. Could anyone get the talent there? Nope. While he’s not my idea of a great coach and maybe terrible in some aspects of the game he still gets talent to Tiger Stadium. As much as I dislike his style of coaching until there is a viable proven alternative available Les is OUR guy.