NEW ORLEANS – Before Les Miles become the Mad Hatter at LSU, he was head coach at Oklahoma State.
Miles also wore a hat at Oklahoma State, but he would not let his staff at OSU wear visors because that was what Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops wore.
In 2001, Miles left a three-year stint as a Dallas Cowboys assistant to become head coach at Oklahoma State. Stoops was in his third season coaching at rival Oklahoma and Miles wanted to change the culture and attitude of Oklahoma State.
It all started with the hat.
“I can only tell you visors were not allowed while I was coaching at Oklahoma State, only because, frankly, it was an identity the opponents had,” Miles told CBSSports.com Friday. “The reality of it is a lot of the young guys had real thick hair, all wanted visors. I said, 'No we're wearing hats or we're wearing nothing.'
"A lot of them opted into the nothing. We wanted to be discernibly different, that's all.”
Mike Gundy was Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator under Miles from 2001-04 until Miles went to LSU.
Gundy said he had heard that Miles wouldn’t let his staff wear visors during his time at Oklahoma State because Stoops wore one at Oklahoma.
“I never asked him directly if that was the reason,” Gundy told CBSSports.com. “I do know this: another assistant and I wanted to wear a visor (at Oklahoma State) and he (Miles) said ‘we don’t wear visors.’
“He’s got those 10-gallon hats. I didn’t wear one. They were wider than my head. I went to the equipment room and they said we don’t have visors. I never asked why we couldn’t have visors. We just couldn’t have visors.”
Since Gundy replaced Miles as head coach at Oklahoma State in 2005, Gundy has worn visors. As for Miles, he’s still the Mad Hatter.
LSU sophomore free safety Eric Reid was asked if he’s ever seen Miles wear a visor.
“I don’t think so,” Reid said laughing.