With Michigan’s current head coach, Jim Harbaugh, rumored to be on the hot seat after an underwhelming tenure with the team, one name comes to mind when considering potential candidates to take his place. Les Miles has been a successful coach for multiple teams and has both playing and coaching experience with the Wolverines.
Jim Harbaugh’s time at Michigan practically mirrors Les Miles’ time at LSU. Miles never had a losing season at LSU and neither has Harbaugh (yet), but through heavy scrutiny and a lack of wins over the best teams in their conferences (Alabama and Ohio State), Miles was fired, and Harbaugh appears to be heading in a similar direction.
The difference between Miles and Harbaugh is Miles defeated Alabama multiple times and appeared in multiple national championships (and won once in 2008), whereas Harbaugh currently has zero wins against Ohio State and zero championship appearances. With each loss against Ohio State, the scrutiny surrounding Harbaugh has grown.
This season, Michigan has had the worst start since Harbaugh’s hiring in 2015, losing to two teams it was expected to beat (Michigan State and Indiana) and losing to Wisconsin by 38 points. And things don’t get any easier for the team, as it still has to face Penn State, an improved Maryland and, of course, Ohio State.
Harbaugh’s contract expires at the end of the 2021 season, and though there’s a possibility he won’t get fired, it is difficult to imagine his contract getting extended after a disappointing few seasons with the Wolverines. It’s likely that the team is already looking at other options.
One of those options could be Miles. Though he currently has a job as the head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks, it isn’t unlike him to abruptly leave for a better job. Despite having four solid years as the head coach of Oklahoma State from 2001-2004, he accepted the head coaching job at LSU in 2005.
He had a great career with the Tigers, sporting a 114-34 record, seven bowl wins and a national championship win through 11 seasons. His success at LSU, along with his having both a playing and coaching career at Michigan, makes it reasonable to believe that he could be the team’s next head coach.
He would be handed a similar situation to the one he faced when starting out with the Tigers. His team was solid in terms of talent, but it wasn’t the best team in the conference—Florida was at the time—and we saw how successful he was given that situation.
The only problem with this theory is his brief and unsuccessful tenure at Kansas. He was given a tremendously difficult task in rebuilding a historically awful team and he has a 3-15 record to show for his time there.
This may make his hiring less likely, but, given his prior success at Oklahoma State and LSU, the difficulty his current job holds and his history at Michigan, it isn’t unreasonable to believe he could be the next head coach of the Michigan Wolverines. It will all depend on whether or not Harbaugh can turn it around in the limited amount of time he has left with the team.