The sports landscape is littered with successful coaches who became victims of their own success, victims of other coach’s successes and victims of public pressure. As each day passes it is looking more and more likely that Les Miles, the head football coach at Louisiana State University is about to be the latest successful coach to be shown the door. Unfortunately too many of us operate in a “What have you done for me lately?” world and Les Miles’ national championship trophy has collected too much dust.
Yesterday, Les conducted his weekly press conference and inevitably had to field questions about his job status at the University. Les did a pretty good job trying to set the tone for the interview and keep the focus on his players and their upcoming game. Over the course of the entire interview he made several statements that could be open to interpretation. However one of his answers appeared to give a clear indication that Les may already know what his future job status with the university is. Watch and listen to his answer to the first question in the video below and see if you can identify when he appears to give away his future status.
The first question Les is asked in this video is “Have you met with any LSU administrators over the last week to discuss your job?” There are two components of his answer that stand out.
First, without directly saying yes or no, his answer appears to be quite telling. He states “The information that I have is to do your job as you would do it.” Les did not say “my job” as “I” would do it, he said “your” job as “you” would do it. His word choice likely indicates that someone told him this message and he is repeating what he was told, thus indicating that a meeting did occur. These words can also indicate that he is already distancing himself from his position as head coach. His response also begs for a follow up question: Was he told to do his job as he would normally do it because this Saturday will be his last game?
Second, Les continues his answer and he says “That is something that I took when I took that job 11 years ago.” Les didn’t say “this” job, Les said “that” job. Les is still employed as the head football coach at LSU, yet once again he distances himself from the position and appears to indicate that he has put his job at LSU behind him already.
These answers are a small snap shot within a much larger context. They don’t guarantee that Les Miles will be out at LSU next week, but they appear to be strong indications that he likely will be.
Update: Apparently LSU had decided to fire Miles until the public backlash grew to a level that they felt they had to retain him. For an interesting look at how the decision unfolded check out this piece by Rodger Sherman at SBNation
Michael Reddington, CFI is the Vice President of Executive Education for Wicklander-Zulawski and Associates and developer of the Disciplined Listening approach. Michael leverages his experience as a Certified Forensic Interviewer to provide unique perspectives and solutions by integrating non-confrontational interview and interrogation techniques with accepted sales, negotiation and leadership best practices and research. To learn more contact Michael directly at 800-222-7789 x150 or firstname.lastname@example.org