Why and How is Art Briles Resurfacing at a Small Texas High School?
Listen, I'll be the first person in most cases to step up and say what someone has done in their past, if they've shown contrition should be considered their past and not their future. I like redemption stories and have more often than not been a sucker for a good one.
All that being said: There are certain people who haven't earned that bit of respect.
Art Briles is one of those people.
I don't know Art Briles, I've not met the man, I don't know people who are in his circle of friends or can speak truthfully on his behalf. I only know what I've seen, heard, read and followed about his history, his exploits as a football coach and the way he comes across in a public forum.
And after what happened during his 7-year run at Baylor University, I can only draw a limited amount of conclusions. The biggest of those being while the man knows how to successfully coach Offensive Football, he does not appear to understand what molding young men into productive members of society means.
Don't get me wrong---there are plenty of his former players who went on to lead successful lives and never had any issues with the law or made bad life decisions. In fact you can safely say most of his players did that.
But they all didn't. And that's where the problem comes in to play.
I'm not going to dredge up the full, sordid tale of multiple players of questionable character he brought to Waco, Texas. Nor am I going to list those players lengthy list of sexual assault and other poor life decisions or crimes they committed against others because if you are familiar with Art Briles, you already know about it.
But I will tell you that publicly, Art Briles did not appear to have a single problem with them. Look up the long list of Title IX issues at Baylor which he, the University and in many cases the Waco Police tried to sweep under the rug because #Football. And that's the reason his name causes many outside the Baylor community to snarl.
Baylor went from being a smallish Big 12 program that had very little success for decades to being wildly successful and in the National Title discussion under Art Briles because he was apparently willing to overlook character issues if you had game. People at the University did the same thing for the very same reason.
Since Karma finally caught up with him back in 2016, Briles has become somewhat of an untouchable commodity in the coaching ranks. Nobody would hire him.
A few tried, but his past always and rightfully became the topic of conversation and no program wanted anything to do with someone who oversaw a team and program who had multiple criminals---yes, criminals...on the roster and made a concerted effort to not have anyone know about them.
Southern Mississippi tried and had to back off. The Canadian Football League did the same.
But like most any coach who's had even modest success at the highest levels, Briles found work. Granted it was in Italy, where he coached the Italian Football League's team based in Florence. But it was a Head Coaching job in Football.
My problem with the guy is pretty simple: At no time before, during or after the problems at Baylor has Art Briles ever come out and admitted he did anything wrong. To my knowledge, he's never said he exorcized poor judgement or regretted anything that happened. And that friends, is, if for no other reason, why the guy arguably should never be allowed to coach kids again.
But....in the perpetually football crazed state of Texas, Art Briles name still has some cache', it still gets the attention of a certain percentage of adults who make decisions about who should be leading football programs.
Which is apparently how Briles somehow, mysteriously, out of left-field, late on a Memorial Day Friday weekend---got announced as the new Head Football Coach for the Mount Vernon School Districts, Mt. Vernon High School football team. The District voted unanimously for the hire and found some really lame excuses as to why the guy is the "Perfect Fit" for them.
Double bonus is Mt. Vernon was proud to proclaim they have a Title IX coordinator and they train staff and administration in all things about the rules. So of course---nothing to see here.
In case you were wondering---here's the School Board in all of their Friday night secretive glory announcing Briles hire so no reporters could question them about it.
It's very possible and probably quite likely he spends the next handful of years at Mt. Vernon in his home state of Texas quietly building a competitive program at a small but successful High School. And maybe this will be proof that everyone deserves a chance---that one should not be blackballed forever no matter what their previous misdeeds were.
And if that is what happens, fine, cool, no issues here. I'm not going to be the ranting and raving writer who crucifies Mt. Vernon or anyone else for giving the guy a chance.
But there are also a ton of questions here. The whole hiring process smells dirty. The secretive way nobody knew what was happening until it happened should very much be questioned. A School System is supposed to be a public entity who operates in the open for the people who pay their salaries---the residents of the district. If this is how Mt. Vernon operates, you can't help but wonder what it means when you add in someone with a questionable reputation to be the focal point of your football program.
But then again, in the current world in which we live---a world where there are people who have lost jobs and careers for stupid things said and regretted when they were young or things they posted on Twitter 10-years ago, nothing that has happened in this situation should be a shock to anyone.