For several years I have written about the Arab Spring and how we observed the outcry of the citizenry of various countries go to the streets and orchestrated the downfalls of dictatorial regimes.  Initially the fall came from public unrest but with very little violence.  Later collapses such as Libya and now Syria were horribly violent.

Several things were present that led to the downfalls.  First, the outpouring of citizen support. The streets filled with thousands of vocal protestors that wanted a change in the leadership of their country.  Secondly, multimedia was present and used as a new tool of revolution. Marches could be coordinated, protest gatherings announced and calls for change could be tweeted, emailed and broadcast around the world at the speed of light.

Over the past several weeks we have witnessed in Louisiana our own version of Arab Spring.  No, Louisiana did not take to the streets to make a change in government.  Nor was there a call out in social media to change anything.   What happened was that there was a public outcry to maintain what was in place and maintain an icon to the state and much to the amazement of thousands across the country; it worked.  This revolution took place not on the steps of our great state capital or in the hallowed halls of the State Supreme Court or in the streets of historic New Orleans.  Instead it took place at the Flagship University of Louisiana, LSU.  The LSU athletic department has had its’ Arab Spring. Regardless of whether the reader believes that Les Miles should leave LSU as the head coach or if he should remain the amazing thing is that Louisiana and the Nation insured that he would remain and the athletic establishment at LSU relented to public pressure.

When number two ranked LSU visited number three ranked Alabama, it was apparent that LSU was not ready for what Alabama threw at them.  This continued for the next two games and after two losses the rumors began to circulate that Les Miles was on the chopping block.  Chopping block, after two losses?  Then after loss three, it appeared that the rumors were founded.  As cameras zoomed in on Miles on the sideline his face disclosed a look of reality, his games at LSU were numbered.

There are coaches all over the country that are dedicated to the sport but few if any are as dedicated to a University as Miles was for Louisiana State.  When Michigan, Miles beloved alma mater, approached him with a head coaching offering Miles turned down the offer in favor of remaining at LSU.  He did so not because be needed to stay, he did so because he wanted to stay.  If you listened to his interviews over the years during his time at LSU it was apparent that he embraced the history, the magic, the mystic that is only LSU. He respected and defended his players.  He spoke of them with admiration.  LSU was about to lose both a head coach, an ambassador for the school and a mentor to the youth.

Then LSUs version of the Arab spring began.  Leaks from the athletic department and vocal pompous administrators made is clear that Miles would be gone.    LSU’s public affairs did nothing to quell the rumors and perception become reality.  Money was available to buy out the contract and Miles was going to leave.  The common LSU sports fanatic would not have it nor would the commentators from the national media.

Kirk Herbstreit commented on the absurdity of terminating Miles.  Then on the day that was to be Miles last day wearing purple and gold, ESPN Sports Day took the LSU athletic administration to task as the panel questioned the wisdom of releasing Miles.  Tweets were rampant as social media had weighted in.  Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal Tweeted his support for Miles.  The LSU athletic department remained mute as it weighed its official decision.  Then the fans finally spoke with a vengeance. For years Miles entered Tiger Stadium to be with his seniors on Senior night.  This year would be different as the fans erupted when Miles entered the stadium and chants of his name filled the evening much like the crowds deafened the night skies in Cairo during Egypt’s Arab spring.  Then during the game Shaquille O’Neal was interviewed, went to the defense of Miles and chastised the athletic department.

When the game ended it was gratifying to see the team carry Miles off the field. The fans had spoken, many of the boosters had spoken, the team had spoken and finally the athletic department spoke.  Miles would remain and the LSU version of the Arab Spring had taken place.

Now the ball is in Coach Miles court. Support like this only comes around once.  It’s time to take full advantage of the talent available at LSU.


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