Art Briles has a new home coaching football, and it's back in the state where it all started. The Mt. Vernon (Texas) Independent School district announced Friday that the former coach of the Baylor Bears has agreed to a two-year contract to coach its football team.
"I began my coaching career in the Friday night lights of Texas high school football, and I'm looking forward to returning to my roots," Briles said. "I have learned many lessons during my time as a coach. Some lessons are born out of success and others out of failure. But they all present opportunities to grow, to learn, and to teach, as we strive for excellence both on and off the field.
Briles was 65-37 in eight years leading the Bears (2008-15). He led a program that had struggled to find success to four double-digit win seasons, two BCS/New Year's Six bowl games, helped Robert Griffin III win the 2011 Heisman Trophy and established the Bears as one of the dominant programs in the Big 12.
His time in Waco came to an abrupt halt prior to the 2016 season, when he was dismissed by the program amid a massive sexual assault scandal into multiple incidents involving players in the program. He was fired on May 26, 2016 after a report from an independent law firm concluded that it had "concerns about the tone and culture within Baylor's football program as it relates to accountability."
Grant Teaff, former Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association and supervisor of the association's Ethics Committee, said in the press release that "Briles never incurred a single recruiting infraction during his time at the collegiate level," and defended the hire.
"I have known Art Briles for over 30 years as an extremely successful high school coach and through his years as a college coach," he said. "I have observed him as a man, husband, father, grandfather, and as a coach, always forthright and stellar."
Mount Vernon ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jason McCullough feels comfortable with the work he's done looking into Briles' past.
"We are pleased to welcome Coach Briles back home to Texas," he said. "He brings with him a wealth of not only football experience but also life experience. He is passionate about investing in the lives of young people and helping them to succeed both on the field and in life. After a thorough due diligence process and several earnest conversations, we believe our students will benefit greatly from his skills and experience."
After being dismissed by Baylor, Briles struggled to find work in the wake of the scandal. His only work since then came this season with Estra Guelfi Firenze of the Italian Federation of American Football.
Briles is a Texas native who had spent 26 straight years coaching high school and college football in Texas prior to his termination from Baylor.