At some point, scandal-stained Art Briles will be back at the FBS level as a head coach. It could happen, though, sooner than most everyone expected.
According to Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com, Briles is one of at least five candidates to fill the vacancy at Houston. Briles’ first job as an FBS head coach came at UH in 2003. In five seasons, Briles guided the Cougars to a 34-28 record during the time, a job that paved the way for him to take over at Baylor in 2008 and put that program on the national map.
Briles was fired earlier this year in the wake of the sexual assault scandal that rocked both the football program and university. UH regents chair Tim Fertitta confirmed this past week that the door hasn’t been shut on a Briles return, even as some “clarity” when it comes to his controversial ouster in Waco is needed.
“There’s a lot of administrator and ex-administrators and board of regents from Baylor that say that Art Briles was a scapegoat at Baylor,” Fertitta told the Houston Chronicle. “I’ve had calls from ex-chairman of the board of regents there, current big booster there, lawyers that represent Baylor. I have not had one negative call about Art Briles. But there still seems to be a clarity issue. …
“I would love for Art Briles to be on our super-short list. But until, or if, or when we can ever get full clarity, I can’t see us going there.”
For the record, UH’s president is Renu Khator, the second woman to ever hold that title at the university. She also holds the dual title of UH System chancellor, the first woman to do so.
It had previously been reported that Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin will interview for the UH job as well. Per McMurphy, that interview will take place Sunday, after the SEC championship game this afternoon.
Additionally, former LSU head coach Les Miles and UH’s offensive and defensive coordinators, Major Applewhite and Todd Orlando, respectively, are candidates and will interview. On Miles, Fertitta publicly stated that the coach “has some interest in us” and confirmed that the interest was being reciprocated.