After weeks of speculation and rumors, Art Briles is officially back in college football as the offensive coordinator at Grambling State.
A school spokesperson confirmed to 247Sports the hiring of Briles on Thursday, shortly after denying reports earlier in the day. It’s a bold hire from head coach Hue Jackson, who enters his first season at Grambling State in 2022. It’ll be Briles’ first coaching gig in college football since he was fired from Baylor in 2016.
His tenure in Waco from 2008-15 was a successful one. Briles compiled a 65-37 record, won a Big 12 championship in 2013 and ’14, and came up just short of the College Football Playoff in the latter year. Briles also served as head coach at Houston, going 34-28 with four bowl game appearances from 2003-07.
However, he’ll forever be tied to the events that brought his Baylor tenure to an end, the reason why the 66-year-old has been out of the game for so long. He was fired after an investigation revealed that Briles and others in the athletic department failed to take action regarding sexual assault and sexual misconduct committed by members of the football team. The scandal eventually led to the resignation of Baylor president Ken Starr and athletic director Ian McCaw.
According to the report from 247Sports, Briles had been in the running for the Texas Tech head coaching job this past hiring cycle. As Jon Wilner of The Mercury News wrote at the time, the hiring of Briles would have had major implications on possible conference expansion.
“No Pac-12 university would consider hiring Briles, not ever, not for a nanosecond — even if he were an alum. Any reports linking Briles to the vacancy would be discredited,” Wilner wrote. “Pressure assuredly would come from campus, faculty, fans, media and the conference office. What happened in Waco was a systemic, horrific abdication of leadership, with Briles at the center of the moral abyss.
“But Texas Tech has allowed the disgraced former coach’s name to remain linked to its search regardless of whether it intends to consider him for the opening. That’s a pretty good example of what constitutes a poor ‘institutional fit’ for the Pac-12.”
In the aftermath of the Baylor scandal, Briles has had short coaching stints in the Italian Football League (IFL) and at the high school level in Texas.
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