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Kansas' Les Miles tests positive for COVID-19, plans to coach next game

Dave Skretta
Associated Press

Lawrence, Kan. — Kansas coach Les Miles tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and is quarantining in his home, where he plans to fulfill his head coaching responsibilities remotely as the Jayhawks spend a week off before visiting West Virginia.

Miles announced his positive test in a joint statement with athletic director Jeff Long, who said the positive test came back through routine testing. The school is going through contact tracing protocols to notify anybody who has been in contact with Miles, including coaches and players from Oklahoma State, who beat the Jayhawks last weekend.

Les Miles.

“Although I will not physically be able to attend practice for the time being, I will be using the technology available for remote working to stay connected during staff meetings (and) meetings with players,” the 66-year-old Miles said. “Thank you for your prayers and support in advance. I look forward to beating this virus and returning to my team.”

Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. Florida State coach Mike Norvell, Toledo’s Jason Candle and Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson also have tested positive, though each has returned to their teams.

The Jayhawks, who fell to 0-3 with their 47-7 loss to the Cowboys, have had several clusters of positive tests within their program since summer workouts resumed. One of them occurred just before a season-opening loss to Coastal Carolina.

The state of Kansas has experienced a surge in positive cases over the past few weeks. There were 1,969 new cases reported on Wednesday, a record for a single day in the state.

Other sports teams in the area have been affected by COVID-19. Kansas State has had several players miss each of its first three games, though coach Chris Klieman has not tested positive. The Kansas City Chiefs had practice squad quarterback Jordan Ta’amu test positive, which led in part to a 24-hour postponement of their game against the New England Patriots.

Miles has been diligent about wearing masks during games, though photos show him slipping it below his mouth when he greeted Baylor coach Dave Aranda and Oklahoma State counterpart Mike Gundy following each of their games.

“Based on the other test results, no other coaches tested positive,” Long said. “As long as Coach Miles does not develop symptoms or have a fever, we anticipate he will be able to coach at the West Virginia game on Oct. 17.”

Miles played at Michigan in the 1970s, and coached there in the 1980s and 1990s.