While it’s nearly 5,700 miles from his last job, it appears Art Briles is indeed getting his second chance.
Late last month, it was reported that the disgraced former Baylor head coach was drawing the interest of an American football team in Florence, Italy. Thursday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram‘s Mac Engel is reporting that Briles has been named as the head coach of the Guelfi Firenze American Football team in Florence.
“I’m a football coach and it’s all I’ve ever done and all I’ve ever really had a passion to do; this gives me a chance to be on the field and between the lines,” Briles told the Star-Telegram. “(This is) a situation where I can build a team over there and it’s inspiring to me. … It’s a situation where I can stay active this fall as a coach and as a person be involved in the game. Who knows what the future holds? It’s a golden opportunity for me to get on the field and be involved. I’m jacked about it.”
Since his dismissal and prior to this development, Briles had not found a job in the coaching profession — at least a permanent one.
Briles was fired by Baylor in May of 2016 amidst a sexual assault scandal involving his Bears football program. In August of last year, the disgraced coach was hired by a CFL team; a couple of hours later, after the hiring was denounced by fans and sponsors, the organization announced that Briles would no longer be joining the team.
In late January of 2017, damning details in one of the handful of the lawsuits facing Baylor University emerged, with that suit alleging that 31 Bears football players had committed 52 acts of rape over a period of four years beginning in 2011.
Not long after, a legal filing connected to the libel lawsuit filed by a former BU football staffer produced emails and text messages that paint a picture of the former Bears head coach Briles and/or his assistants as unrestrained rogue elements concerned with nothing more than the image of the football program off the field and its performance on it. The details in a damning document dump included allegations that Briles attempted to circumvent BU’s “judicial affairs folks” when it came to one player’s arrest… and on Briles asking, in response to one of his players brandishing a gun on a female, “she reporting [it] to authorities?”… and asking “she a stripper?” when told one of his players expected a little something extra from a female masseuse… and stating in a text “we need to know who [the] supervisor is and get him to alert us first” in response to a player who was arrested on a drug charge because the apartment superintendent called the police.
In reference to a woman who alleged she was gang-raped by several Bears football players, Briles allegedly responded, “those are some bad dudes. Why was she around those guys?”
“Hindsight is a blessing and a curse. I’ve always been about trying to be fair and honest with everyone I came into contact with,” Briles said in his most recent comments on his unceremonious and controversial ouster from the Bears. “The thing that hurts me as much as anything [was] the culture at Baylor at the time; I don’t think victims, I know they didn’t feel comfortable going to report assaults that took place. I don’t think they were represented and taken care of with the level that needed to be handled with. That’s something that through all of this and as time goes will become more clear.
“Not only me but many of us felt betrayed because we were not privy to the information that was available in a way we wanted to respond. … With the way things are going, with some of the transparency starting to take place, I am confident the truth will come out. It’s not just important for me.”