WWF_0003 Advocate staff photo by Bill Feig. Photo shot on 9/10/05. LSU-Arizona State football in Tempe, AZ---LSU coach Les Miles leads the tigers onto the field for their first game of the 2005 campaign.


This time, they pulled the trigger.

After the heartbreaking loss at Auburn University, LSU power brokers gave football coach Les Miles his walking papers, along with his offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron. Unlike last year's drama, this was conclusive.

It was an emotional weekend for coaches and players of the team so avidly followed all across Louisiana and among alumni across the globe.

Miles’ farewell speech to the team brought out tears — for himself and his ex-players. They rose from their seats at its conclusion, giving the Ohio native a standing ovation, according to school spokesman Michael Bonnette, who added Miles told the team he'd be pulling for it Saturdays and urged them to to go run the table.

“Very emotional,” safety Jamal Adams said describing the scene. “That man is so passionate about LSU.”

Very true.

Even Joe Alleva, the athletic director who had to pull the trigger this time, said as much: Les Miles was an extraordinary ambassador for LSU and for the larger community that the university and the team represent.

It was his personality as well as record that brought him to the Tigers a dozen years ago, and it was his awareness of LSU's unique role in the state that was so important in the first crisis of the Miles years, when hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit Louisiana. Real life intruded on football, but football's return that year — hosted by the good people of Arizona, as the campus was otherwise engaged with evacuees — was one of the moments when our people could recover emotionally.

This year's flooding in the greater Baton Rouge area also showed Miles' community leadership at its best.

Those things are not what he was paid for, though, and the football program now has to adjust mid-season — never a good time for these transitions.

Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron will serve as LSU’s interim coach, the second such stint of his career. Tight ends coach Steve Ensminger will serve as interim offensive coordinator.

Like Miles, we wish the team and its coaches the best in difficult circumstances. But it is fitting to let Miles go while remembering his role as a leader in tough times for Louisiana.