I must confess, I know very little about football. I can’t say that researching this article has made my stare any less glassy when he talks running plays and defenses, but through researching so many coaches, I have a new respect for the men who make it happen and hold it all together.
I began my search at the Coach of the Year website. Every year, through fan votes, eligibility criteria, elimination processes, and a second, specialized vote, Liberty Mutual chooses a college football coach of the year as standing out in four criteria: Coaching Excellence, Sportsmanship and Integrity, Academic Excellence, and Community Commitment. These men deserve much respect and praise for the many plates they balance on and off the field.
After many nights between this website and watching ESPN, I have chosed Les Miles, head coach of Louisiana State University, as the 2009 College Football Coach of the Year. Les took the job in 2005 after spending several years as the head coach of Oklahoma State. Since then, he has led the Tigers to and overall record of 42-11. He has his own unique way of calling plays that some call risky. But this gamble seems to pay off for the man known as the ‘Mad-Hatter’. In his four years at LSU he has won one National Championship, one SEC Championship, and two SEC Western Division Championships.
Miles began his coaching career in 1980 with his own alma mater, the University of Michigan where he served two seperate stints as assistant coach. The second time he left, it was for the head coach position at Oklahoma State University where he had an overall record of 28-21 and one bowl win. In 2005, Miles left Okalahoma to take over the program as LSU after Nick Saban left to coach the Miami Dolphins and LSU hasn’t looked this good in years.
Off the field, Coach Miles encourages extra study time for his players as often as possible and the book time has payed off. In the last four years, ten of his players have been named to the SEC honor roll, and 78 have received diplomas. Unlike many programs, LSU knows the value of a good education and hope to pass this wisdom and desire for knowledge to all of the players.
In his personal life, Coach Miles holds quite a few charities near and dear to him. Each year, he and his wife host and event and consistently raise nearly $100,000.00 for the Children’s Miracle Network. He also raises money for cancer research, the Special Olympics, and Children’s Advocacy. Miles also spent time touring in Kuwait and Iraq with the USO Tour in June of 2006.
Coach Les Miles has spent a long and prosperous career in college football. His players and co-workers, both present and past, speak of him as a man with a pure heart, competitive drive, and fierce loyalty. He continues to produce winning seasons with standout players. On Saturday Game Day, look for him, look for his team, and you too will choose Les Miles as the 2009 College Football Coach of the Year.