Dear Les Miles,
Today was the first day I walked into Football Ops in over a decade where you weren’t here as the head coach. It was a little weird, but the staff you had in place is going to do a great job here. We are LSU! You know I love Twitter, but there was no way I could write in 140 characters what you and your family have meant to me for the past 12 seasons.
You gave me a job when I was 19 years old to work in the football office. It was a dream come true for me. I watched your entire family grow up from Macy as a baby, to shuffling Smacker to swim practice, tutoring Manny in 6th grade math and watching Ben grow up. LSU is family, and the Miles are family to me too. This is something that will never change.
When there was an opportunity for me to come back to LSU and work full-time, you once again made my dreams come true. I was able to work for a university that I am extremely passionate about and with a staff that is second to none. You allowed me to interview you hundreds of times (and only said ‘no’ once, which we talked about later…and then you never did again). You helped me create a career in media and a career in sports working for a team that means the world to me and for people that mean the world to me. The opportunities you gave me from summer internships in college to my time in television to being on your staff are ones I will never take for granted. I am where I am today in part because you believed it me.
As an interviewer, you allowed me to grow by asking you pre-game and post-game questions for five years, and we always had fun doing it. One of my favorite interview moments being in 2011 after LSU beat Alabama 9-6 when I asked you if I could talk to you about getting run over coming out of the tunnel. You said, “Of course.” It’s hard to believe that our interview last Thursday was the last one I had with you. We had a good run with those!
While you were totally my boss, you were also very much my friend. Someone I could talk to, bounce ideas off of and it never felt like I had to sensor myself around you. You were one of the most famous coaches in the whole game of college football, but to us, you were just Coach Miles.
Most LSU fans will remember you for your awkward way of clapping, tall white hat or eating grass. I will remember all of that too – it’s hard to forget! But, I will remember most when you talked to me about getting married when Shea and I got engaged, and when you gave me training advice for my races (still the best piece of racing advice I ever got was from you – ‘Turn the watch off and have fun.”) and when I was constantly laughing with you (and maybe sometimes at you!).
Over 12 seasons there are countless memories I have with you and your family. I will never forget the 2007 game versus Florida where you became the Mad Hatter – to this day, my favorite college football game of all time. I will never forget our National Championship and being in New Orleans working for the team as a student. I will never forget that time I rescued a dog who was living under your balcony and named him ‘Lester’.
And, I will never forget saying goodbye to you.
I will miss your jokes (or your sometimes jokes that were trying to be jokes), your press conferences, your Les-isms (that everyone in this office still finds each other saying without even noticing it), your family (everyone, but mostly Macy braiding my hair) and, most of all, the quirkiness that made you Les Miles.
Thank you for all that you did for LSU, the state of Louisiana and myself. Just so you know – you made an impact here on many people, especially this one, that will always be noticed and never be forgotten.
God Bless and Geaux Tigers!