As the coaching carousel continues to spin, there’s one Conference USA head coach we know of who officially won’t get caught up in its wake.
With reports surfacing Tuesday morning, Rice confirmed in a press release very early this afternoon that David Bailiff will return for his 11th season in 2017 coming off a three-win 2016 season. Speculation had been growing in the midst of what would be the football program’s second consecutive losing season that Bailiff’s job could be in jeopardy.
While athletic director Joe Karlgaard confirmed Bailiff’s return, his statement also made it clear that not going bowling is wholly unacceptable and intimated that a repeat next season could lead to a change in leadership.
Below is Karlgaard’s statement, in its entirety:
Yesterday, Coach Bailiff and I met to review the 2016 season and to discuss the state of the Rice football program. While we are all disappointed with the results, there is a plan to turn things around under his leadership next season and I have made the expectations for 2017 very clear to Coach.
After two straight seasons without a winning record, we need to acknowledge that we are not meeting an acceptable competitive standard for this university. Our ambitions remain very high. We expect to be competitive in every game and to compete for conference championships. When nearly two-thirds of college football programs participate in bowl games every year—including slots for half of Conference USA members—bowl games should be a regular part of our seasons.
Our season-ending meeting yesterday gives me hope that Coach Bailiff can meet these expectations next year. He is prepared to make substantial changes to the football program to ensure our student-athletes are put in the best position possible to be successful on the field. We will work together to carefully implement those changes.
David, his staff, and his student-athletes have consistently represented Rice in a first-class manner throughout his ten seasons as our head coach. Together, we have accomplished much competitively as well, including four bowl appearances and a conference championship. It is also important to acknowledge that, despite our disappointments this season, our team did not quit. That’s a great testament to David’s leadership.
I am asking that all Owls fans continue to support our program and to believe that we will get back to our winning ways in 2017.
In 10 seasons with the Owls, Bailiff has compiled a 56-69 record. Bailiff owns a pair of 10-win seasons at the school (2008, 2013), and won a conference championship in the latter season.
His 56 wins are second in school history behind Jess Neely‘s 144 from 1940-66.
The Owls had gone to three consecutive bowl games prior to going 5-7 and 3-9 the past two seasons.
“No one is more disappointed in the 2016 season’s results than me and I am resolved to do whatever is necessary to have success once again,” the coach said in his statement. “While many factors have contributed to our performance these past two seasons, I am focused on my responsibility as our head football coach. I am working with Joe on implementing the changes we need to be successful while also preserving the terrific attitude of our players who fought through a difficult season this year.
“I am excited to move forward and grateful for the support of our fans and this university.”