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Copyright 2016 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Georgia State Athletic Director Charlie Cobb said Sunday that he fired football coach Trent Miles because the team just wasn't progressing and that he wants to breathe new life into the program in the season's final two games.

"It wasn't one play, one situation or one game," Cobb said. "We aren't playing to our capabilities. A 2-8 record, I don't think that speaks for the talent on the team."

Georgia State has games remaining against rival Georgia Southern and at Idaho.

Tim Lappano, the wide receivers coach, will serve as interim head coach.

Miles, who was informed he was being relieved on Saturday evening, is the first coach that Cobb has fired since he became the school's athletic director in August 2014.

Cobb said he had conversations with university President Mark Becker during last week about the direction of the program and then again following Saturday's 37-23 loss to Louisiana-Monroe, which had entered the game with a 3-6 record.

Cobb said he met with Miles after the mistake-filled game and then again for a couple of hours Saturday night before making his decision.

Miles, hired by former Athletic Director Cheryl Levick following Bill Curry's retirement in 2012, had a 9-38 record at Georgia State. He led the Panthers to their first and only bowl appearance last year.

"Trent is a first-class guy who ran a first-class program," Cobb said. "He's a good football coach, a good family guy.

"His staff, those guys are all good guys, men and coaches with great families. It's the part (of the job) that stinks when you evaluate the program, you have to let that fall to the side. Where are the results?"

Miles met with the assistants Sunday morning and the players at lunch time.

He said he apologized that many of them had already heard about the decision.

Cobb said he hopes the senior players, including those who may have a chance to play in the NFL, will take this difficult situation and use it as a way to show scouts that they can handle adversity.

He said he told the younger players that it's time to show leadership and that he wants to meet with two or three of the team's leaders to discuss what they hope to see in the next coach and staff.

He said some players already expressed a wish that strength and conditioning coach Scott Holsopple will be retained.

Cobb said Miles was unable to build on the success the Panthers had last season, when a four-game winning streak to end the regular season resulted in a 6-6 record and an invitation to the Cure Bowl.

But as has been the case going back to Curry's tenure, the Panthers were rarely able to synchronize good play from its offense, defense and special teams with any consistency under Miles.

"If you are going to be a good team, you are going to have to be good in all three phases," Cobb said. "The back half of last season, we had all three working pretty well. We didn't build off the energy and excitement."

Cobb said Miles is owed approximately $250,000 from the remainder of his contract.

After saying he wanted to rework Miles' contract following last year's win over Georgia Southern, the two sides were never able to come to an agreement on an extension to his contract, which will expire after next season.

That explains why Miles' buyout was comparatively inexpensive.

Cobb said he recognizes that Miles stepped into a difficult situation in December 2012 when he was hired. Georgia State was transitioning from FCS to FBS without some of the resources to compete, with an unbalanced roster and without enough inroads to recruiting in Georgia.

Steps were taken in the meantime, including building a strength and conditioning center and increasing the size of the coaching and support staff. The staff, led by recruiting coordinator P.J. Volker, has improved relations with high school coaches in the state.

"It's been kind of a slow drip that things weren't going to work out the way we hoped," Cobb said. "It's not due to effort or anything other than (results) at the end of the day."

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November 14, 2016


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