Miles Accepts LSU; Gundy Next at OSU

It's official - the end of the short, but successful Les Miles era of Oklahoma State football has come. Late Saturday night Miles informed officials at Louisiana State University that he would board a chartered jet on Sunday that will pick him up in Stillwater and take him to Baton Rouge where Miles will meet with the new LSU chancellor and then on Monday will be announced publicly as the new head coach at the school.

Miles weighed his options considerably and did meet with OSU President David Schmidly and OSU Athletic Director Harry Birdwell who presented him with a counteroffer. Sources close to Miles said it did not come down to money but instead the opportunity that LSU presented with its strong program to win a national championship.

Miles also met with his staff late Saturday night and offered most of them the opportunity to follow him to LSU. So far it is confirmed that those who will accompany Miles to LSU are defensive coordinator Bill Clay, tight ends coach Josh Henson (a former OSU player who played under Miles when he was offensive coordinator), and director of football operations Mack Butler.

Mike Gundy will be named the next head coach at Oklahoma State, possibly as soon as tomorrow but most likely on Monday.

Gundy has served as the assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at OSU since Miles took over as head coach. Gundy is a former Cowboy quarterback from 1986-1989 during a very successful run by the Oklahoma State program. Gundy served as an assistant at OSU for both Pat Jones and Bob Simmons in a first stint at his alma mater before moving on to assistant positions at Baylor and Maryland before making his return under Miles to Oklahoma State.

It is believed that at least two current assistants could remain at OSU with Gundy. Joe DeForest, the popular special teams coordinator, was contacted by Birdwell and possibly Gundy Saturday night, in an effort to talk him into staying. Todd Monken, current passing game coordinator, has a good relationship with Gundy and has voiced the opinion that he might stay.

Gundy will need to move quickly assemble a full staff as Oklahoma State will have to get back on the road recruiting. The Cowboys have 19 current verbal commitments. Of those three are junior college signees who will enroll at midterm. Another is Jason Cherry, a high school graduate in May of 2004, who gained his eligibility this fall and is scheduled to enroll for the spring semester.

The remaining 15 will need to hear from Oklahoma State as soon as possible. The Cowboys have the interest of some top prospects, including Houston Area Player of the Year R.J. Jackson, Dallas Kimball defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger and several others. Gundy will need to evaluate which ones he can go see and which ones need to be called. A school can only send its head coach for a home visit once and Miles has visited some of those prospects.

Expect the movement to be fast and furious over the next several days as the remaining staff members make their decisions on where they will be employed and as Gundy completes his staff. The recruiting calendar goes on another dead period a week from tomorrow for the AFCA Coach's Convention. Signing day is Wednesday, Feb. 2.

Miles came to Oklahoma State from the Dallas Cowboys in December of 2000 and made an immediate impact. The former Michigan player and assistant coach, who also had served as an assistant at Colorado and Oklahoma State, went 4-7 in his first season but punctuated it with a 16-13 upset over fourth-ranked Oklahoma in Norman on national television.

His second season featured wins over Nebraska, Texas A&M and a 38-28 pasting of third-ranked Oklahoma in Stillwater. The Cowboys went on to beat Southern Miss in the Houston Bowl. Miles' third team went 9-4 in 2003 and he lead OSU to its first New Year's Day or post New Year's Day bowl game since 1945 when the Cowboys lost a 31-28 thriller to Ole Miss. This season OSU slipped to 7-5 following last Wednesday's loss to Ohio State in the Alamo Bowl.

During the Miles era Oklahoma State produced such standouts as All-American and record-setting wide receiver Rashaun Woods, current Minnesota Vikings All-Pro defensive tackle Kevin Williams, quarterback Josh Fields, and current Denver Broncos running back Tatum Bell.

Miles completes his career at Oklahoma State, his first head coaching job, with a 28-21 record following the 33-7 loss to Ohio State in the Alamo Bowl. He finishes 16-16 over four years in Big 12 Conference games. Miles, with the Alamo Bowl appearance, became the only coach in OSU history to lead the program to three straight bowl games.

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