Ex-Baylor coach Briles resigns high school post; Texas Tech next?
Former Baylor coach Art Briles resigned as head coach at Mount Vernon High School in Texas, fueling speculation he will pursue a return to college football.
“After coaching 42 games of football from Florence, Italy to Mount Vernon, Texas in the last 22 months, I respectfully resign,” Briles said in a statement.
Briles served as the head coach for two seasons, leading Mount Vernon to a 20-6 record overall and the state 3A Division 1 semifinals in 2020. He accepted the job after coaching in the Italian Football League in 2018.
“I want to thank Coach Briles for his two years here in Mount Vernon. He and his staff have invested themselves into our community, our school, and more importantly into the lives of our students,” Mount Vernon Independent School District superintendent Jason McCullough said on the district’s Facebook page. “This football season was an awesome experience and one that all of Mount Vernon will always remember. He is an amazing coach and the program he has built in Mount Vernon puts us in a position to continue to be successful moving forward.”
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Friday that there is a growing call among boosters for Texas Tech (4-6, 3-6 Big 12) to replace coach Matt Wells with Briles, an alumnus of the school. Baylor terminated Briles’ contract before the 2016 season following a widespread sexual assault scandal in the Bears’ football program.
The Star-Telegram report said an outside law firm sent its findings of an investigation into Briles to the Texas Tech board of regents on Thursday, and the investigation concluded the following:
“Based on the information available to us as recounted herein, including statements made by Baylor and by others about Coach Briles with respect to the events surrounding his tenure as head coach at Baylor, we are not aware of any conduct on the part of Coach Briles that should serve to foreclose consideration of him as a candidate to coach football again at the collegiate level.”
Briles also is rumored to be a potential candidate at Liberty should Hugh Freeze leave for an opening at a Power Five conference program. The athletic director at Liberty, Ian McCaw, hired Briles at Baylor and resigned in May 2016 as part of the sexual assault scandal.
Briles, a Texas native, started his head-coaching career in high school at age 28 in 1984 and remained entrenched in the state’s football coaching scene at five high schools over two decades before he jumped to the college level as an assistant with Mike Leach at Texas Tech in 2000.
After three years as the running backs coach for the Red Raiders, Briles was hired at the University of Houston as head coach in 2003. Following five successful seasons and three bowl games with the Cougars, Baylor tabbed Briles as head coach.
Briles’ teams finished in the top 20 four times in his eight seasons at Baylor, where he went 65-37 with six bowl appearances.
Briles was close to being hired for the offensive coordinator job at Southern Miss, until negative backlash followed a Biloxi Sun Herald report that Briles was on the Hattiesburg campus for an interview. The school quickly reversed course amid criticism.
An opportunity to work as an assistant coach in the Canadian Football League also was rescinded after community response.
Overall, Briles compiled a 99-65 record in 13 seasons as a head coach at Houston (2003-07) and Baylor (2008-15), leading the Bears to Big 12 championships in 2013 and 2014.
–Field Level Media