Reports: Houston targets Les Miles, Lane Kiffin, others in coaching search

Dr. Saturday
Les Miles is stepping up his search for new employment. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
Les Miles is stepping up his search for new employment. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

The search to replace Tom Herman at Houston could conclude as early as next week and the Cougars could be announcing a high-profile hire.

According to multiple reports, Houston has a short list of “five and six names,” that includes former LSU coach Les Miles, former Baylor coach Art Briles, current Alabama coordinator Lane Kiffin and West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. Interim coach/defensive coordinator Todd Orlando and offensive coordinator Major Applewhite also are candidates.

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Miles seems the candidate Houston covets most. A source told ESPN: “Les Miles has always recruited Texas (while head coach at LSU and Oklahoma State) and has friends in Houston. It could be what Miles is looking for.”

Houston board of regents chairman Tilman Fertitta told the Houston Chronicle that Miles is a candidate.

“I think we have some interest in him, and he has interest in us,” Fertitta said. “I’m not saying he’s No. 5 on the list or No. 1 on the list. He’s just on the list.”

Miles went 114-34 in 12 seasons at LSU, which included two SEC titles, two national title games and a BCS championship. His .770 winning percentage is the best in school history. LSU fired Miles in September after a 2-2 start.

Fertitta he’d like to bring Briles back to Houston, but that the hire would be difficult to support after Briles was fired in May for his involvement in a sexual assault scandal that included several football players.

Briles, who was the coach at Houston before leaving for Baylor, led the Cougars to a Conference USA title and four bowl appearances in five years.

“I would love for Art Briles to be on our super-short list,” Fertitta said. “But until, or if, or when we can ever get full clarity (on Briles’ role in the scandal), I can’t see us going there.”

Fertitta also noted Houston would wait until schools have finished their seasons before reaching out to coaches. That would include Holgorsen, who was an offensive coordinator at Houston under coach Kevin Sumlin. However, an ESPN report said Holgorsen was unlikely to leave West Virginia for a Power Five job.

Also, it’s unclear whether Houston would wait through the playoff before contacting Kiffin, who has also been linked with the LSU offensive coordinator position.

Houston is one of three high-profile head coaching jobs still open so far this season, including Baylor and Oregon.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter!

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