When it was revealed LSU football coach Les Miles was in Cuba, there were quite a few questions posed. A week after he was spotted in the island country, Miles shed some light on his experience.
Miles was in Cuba on a philanthropic visit last week and spent an afternoon taking in the historic baseball contest between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuba national team. He may well have been the first FBS coach to visit the nation. The Rays won, 4-1, while being cheered on by Miles, President Barack Obama and New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter. His trip was detailed shortly after he was revealed to be in Cuba.
Former Tampa Bay Rays and LSU outfielder Mikie Mahtook was the first to point out Miles’s presence in Cuba March 22.
LSU then confirmed that Miles was indeed in the country, making an odd reference to the Dos Equis (a Mexican beer) commercial series. They also revealed that he was there for a specific reason, to “visit schools & experience the culture,” as well as give away dozens of soccer balls to the Cuban children. Per CBS Sports:
“It was a people-to-people tour and that was one of my stops. I had a wonderful time, gave 60 soccer balls away — to the kids. They stopped playing with that scuffed-up ball and got a new one. We had a driver and a host who could speak English and was with me the entire time.”
While traveling around the country, Miles, who was there on his own, said he had a visa and a friend that had just returned from the country. The friend connected him with the travel agent who could expedite the process, and next thing you know, Miles and his translator are performing philanthropic work among random Cuban communities.
The reason Miles was able to go so long without being reported on by the American media was because he entered the country anonymously, not to be recognized by the Cubans and other residents with whom he came into contact. He also said he did not know where his trip would be taking him.
“I loved it. They took me to a lot of very fine places. One night I had a headache. I was going to go home and go to bed. There was security at the house, nice house.[I asked the security person], ‘You want to go get a bite to eat? Can we walk someplace?’ Sure. Went up the block and made a right turn … all the locals were there. It cost $9. It was very good — excellent food. The people were a blast.”
Miles is now back on American soil. He recently shared his experiences at LSU’s Pro Day.