Monday, December 10, 2018 Elyria 29°


College Football: Elyria native Les Miles says he's a better coach after time off, plans to return to sideline and win big again

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    Coach Les Miles talks to an official Sept. 24. He was fired the next day by LSU. AP



Les Miles’ reflexes took over when he woke up on National Signing Day.

“I grabbed my phone and started texting,” he said. “Then I realized I don’t have to text anyone.”

For the first time in 37 years, Miles wasn’t a recruiter. He was fired Sept. 25 four games into his 12th season at LSU and remains unemployed.

He misses coaching.

“Terribly,” he told The Chronicle-Telegram by phone recently. “I miss the players and going to practice.

“I want to coach. I want to go win another national title.”

Miles, a 1972 Elyria High School graduate and Elyria Sports Hall of Famer, is 142-55 (.721 winning percentage) in 16 years as a head coach, including four at Oklahoma State. He was previously an assistant for two decades.

He became one of college football’s best-known figures during his decade-plus at LSU. He won a national championship in 2007, SEC titles in 2007 and ’11 and was the Associated Press’ national coach of the year in 2011.

He went 114-34 with the Tigers, becoming the second-winningest coach in program history. He was fired after a 2-2 start following a No. 5 ranking in the preseason AP poll.

He remains in Baton Rouge, La.

“If you’re looking for a job, you don’t want to move twice,” he said.

Miles, 63, spent the weekend watching the NFL Draft and helping at former Tigers player Jacob Hester’s camp in Shreveport. He said he didn’t come close to taking a job after last season and knows exactly what he wants.

“I’m looking for a job in a Power 5 conference and to win a championship,” Miles said. “That’s all I want.

“Get me an athletic director willing to commit to the players and the program and football and I’d be all in.”

Miles said the wait is “very hard.” He’s helped out at various programs, but it’s not nearly the same.

He feels he can win at the highest level because he’s done it before, even when the odds were stacked against his team.

“I’m probably a better coach today than when they let me go. I’m a better coach than in as long as I can remember,” Miles said. “When I look back at the things I did and didn’t do, I’m so much better a coach.”

The time away has given him “perspective.”

“I’m seeing the game a little better, a little clearer,” he said. “And I’m studying football. I continue to study football.”

Without a job for the 2017 season, Miles isn’t sure how he’s going to spend the fall. He’s done some TV work in the past and could try it again.

“I don’t know. It depends,” he said. “I want to be close to the game. I enjoy being close to the game. The media stuff could be a fit.”

Miles called to talk about the NFL Draft. He still pulls for the Browns, questioned the pick of Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett at No. 1 because he didn’t see great effort and applauded the selection of Michigan safety/kick returner/running back Jabrill Peppers.

“He may be the best overall player in the draft, in terms of number of positions he plays,” Miles said. “I like that pick.”

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or Like him on Facebook and follow him @scottpetrak on Twitter.

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