College Football: Should Art Briles coach again?

Coach A: 99-65 overall record in thirteen seasons. Restored two programs that were in shambles. Had six players drafted in the first round from a program that did have a winning season until he arrived. Two conference championships that included two college football blue bloods. Boasted a Heisman Trophy winner, and blended two schools of offense into a single scheme that changed college football. Also had three coaches from his coaching tree that are successful collegiate coaches in (two of which are at power five conferences).

Coach B: 67-22 overall record in twelve seasons. Left four programs in controversial fashion. Blackballed by the NFL. Successful at two programs that were historically good. Had thirty-seven draft picks in his twelve years. Two conference championships in a traditionally weak conference. Three coaches from coaching tree that have only produced one power five coach.

Coach A is Art Briles formerly of Houston and Baylor University. Coach B is Bobby Petrino of Louisville, Atlanta Falcons, Arkansas, Western Kentucky then back at Louisville. All of the controversy surrounding Bobby Petrino can be found at the link.

As any football fan would know Art Briles was fired from Baylor University due to sexual assault scandal from his time as head coach. Briles had a coaching philosophy of giving players second chances that were kicked out of other programs and looking the other way when it came to disciplining players. Our own Matthew Garrett did a wonderful job outlining the entire scandal in detail. Additional information can be found on Baylor’s website. Cliff notes version is that Baylor covered up sexual assaults made by football players to other Baylor Athletes and students. The aftermath was the dismissal of the entire Baylor leadership from the Head Coach to the President. What is surprising (other than the entire situation) is that the Baylor football program got no reduction in scholarships, no postseason ban, no probation, no restitution towards the victims. The aftermath of the Penn State scandal was much worse. Penn State was placed on five years’ probation, four-year postseason ban, loss of forty scholarships, and sixty million dollars that will go to the prevention of child abuse, etc. Over a hundred wins were vacated from Joe Paterno’s record (they were later restored).

Now I am not comparing the careers of Petrino to that of Briles since being a dirtbag is much different than essentially condoning Sexual Assault in regards to winning football games, but Petrino has gotten second, third, fourth chances to coach professionally and Briles has not. My question is should Briles be able to coach again professionally?

Many Head coaches in various sports have gotten second chances. Sean Payton and Greg Williams of the Saints survived Bounty gate and were able to coach professionally. Former Indiana and Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight was notorious for his outlandish behavior during games while at Indiana. Knight is reported to have choked and punched players during practice and games; using an abundance of expletives at referees. Knight even throw a chair during a game. Mike Rice formerly of Rutgers University, was terminated after a video was leaked during practice where Rice verbally berated his players, put his hands on players and threw basketballs at them. Rice now coaches high school basketball. If these coaches can receive second chances then why not Art Briles?

Understandably Briles will never be a head coach again due to his coaching philosophy of placing winning above everything else, however, Briles is a talented offensive mind that deserves another shot coaching. The scandal at Baylor epitomized everything wrong with collegiate sports, however, the blame goes far beyond the football coach. Lincoln Riley just took over has Head Coach at Oklahoma; could Briles become his offensive coordinator?


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