Bock’s Score: Art Rejection


In the community of football coaches, a good ol’ boys fraternity, it turns out that Art Briles is toxic.

Just because he was in the middle of that nasty little sexual assault scandal at Baylor University in 2016, Briles can’t seem to shake off the bad vibes, that matter created.

Fired by the university, along with its president and its athletic director, Briles went into the help wanted section of the coaches’ fraternity. He was equipped with a 65-37 record and two Big-12 championships at Baylor. Surely the fraternity would look the other way over the Baylor mess and find work for one of its own.

Look the other way? This was an ugly mess and even though the NCAA shrugged it off, claiming it reflected a campus-wide culture that stretched beyond the football program, the stench could not be ignored.

Despite his involvement, Briles landed a job as an assistant coach with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. It’s not the high profile American college or pro game but it’s football. Sadly, that job lasted 24 hours before the Baylor backlash caught up with Briles and he was excused.

No problem. This is a fraternity that takes care of its own. Briles can coach. Surely some program would offer him a landing spot, the Baylor business notwithstanding.

He coached in Italy for a while and then showed up Mount Vernon High School in Texas as head coach. Now, high school football was a step down for a coach with Briles’ resume. That gig lasted until 2020 when he resigned and returned to the fraternity’s waiting room. Sooner or later, somebody would call. And then somebody did.

Last week, Art Briles showed up at Grambling State University, introduced as the program’s new offensive coordinator. New coach Hue Jackson, hired in December, decided to bring Briles on board in the interest of second chances. His history would be a teaching opportunity, Jackson decided.

That plan lasted four days.

Briles resigned because he believed that his background would be a distraction to Jackson and his team. And he was probably right about that. Covering up sexual violence is frowned upon at most places in this country, even college football.

You can understand, however, why Hue Jackson offered Briles a second chance. When his name came up for the Grambling job, his head coaching resume included a record of 3-36-1 in three years with the Cleveland Browns.

Grambling gave him a second chance and he decided to give Art Briles one, as well.



About the Author

Hal Bock

Hal Bock is a contributor with NY Sports Day. He has covered sports for 40 years at The Associated Press including 30 World Series, 30 Super Bowls and 11 Olympics. He is the author of 14 books including most recently The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty and Banned Baseball's Blacklist of All-Stars and Also-Rans. He has written scores of magazine articles and served as Journalist In Residence at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus where he also served on the selection committee for the George Polk Awards.

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