Days after he was named offensive coordinator at Grambling State, ex-Baylor coach Art Briles announced Monday that he has decided not to remain on the football coaching staff.
As first reported by ESPN senior college football writer Pete Thamel, Briles, in a statement, indicated that his “continued presence will be a distraction” to the Grambling football program.
“Unfortunately, I feel that my continued presence will be a distraction to you and your team, which is the last thing that I want. I have the utmost respect (for) the university, and your players,” Briles said.
Also read: Doug Williams ‘very disappointed’ Grambling State hired Art Briles
Briles was tabbed to replace former offensive coordinator Ted White, who joined the Houston Texans coaching staff under new head coach Lovie Smith.
The announcement comes amid a plethora of scrutiny and criticism directed at Grambling and head coach Hue Jackson for considering Briles for the job years after he was fired from Baylor in the wake of sexual assault allegations into the Bears football program while he was head coach.
A lawsuit alleged that 31 Baylor football players committed 52 rapes, including five gang rapes involving 10 or more players at once, between 2011 and 2014.
Just last Friday, Jackson, who advocated for Briles to be a candidate for the position, defended the courtship, saying in a letter through his foundation that the hiring was a testament to “forgiveness,” “redemption” and “enlightenment.”
“We believe that through the hiring of Coach Briles and the well-developed programs we have in place, this hire will be instrumental in teaching others the importance of knowing how to prevent victimization, proper reporting procedures, provide adequate resources to individuals who have been victimized and develop strong law enforcement partnerships within the community,” Jackson wrote.
Athletic director Trayvean Scott last Thursday, anticipating the backlash to come, defended the decision to bring Briles aboard affirming that he was “rooted in fact” and that Briles should have “a chance to really redeem himself.”
During his eight seasons in Waco, Briles went 65-37 and won a pair of Big 12 championships during a run that led to four Top 25 finishes.
Briles last coached at Mount Vernon High School in Texas, where the team finished the season 20-6 and even reached the Class 3A Division I semifinals in 2020.
Before his time at Baylor, Briles was the head coach at the University of Houston from 2003-2007.
He has had a previous coaching stop in the Italian Football League.