Baylor Picks Houston's Briles As New Football Coach

Briles' hiring was confirmed Wednesday

Nov. 28, 2007

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Houston coach Art Briles is next to take on the task of pulling Baylor out of the Big 12 basement.

Briles confirmed he was leaving in a news conference Wednesday at Houston after meeting with his players.

Baylor spokesman Nick Joos said a news conference was scheduled later in the day on the Waco campus to announce the school's new football coach.

Briles led Houston to four bowls in his five seasons. He was offered the job Wednesday, a day after meeting with Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw in Dallas.

"Life is full of decisions. Sometimes, you have to look at things from a professional, personal standpoint," Briles said. "Professionally, (Houston) ... is great university with a situation I'm proud to be a part of. Personally, the move allows a person of my nature a little more security. When you're getting up in my age, that's an important factor in life."

The Houston Chronicle reported on its Web site that Briles will get a seven-year contract for about $1.8 million per season. Briles, who turns 52 Monday, had four years left on his Houston contract with a base salary of $900,000 annually.

Briles replaces Guy Morriss, who was fired Nov. 18 after five seasons. Morriss' firing came the day after the Bears (3-9) completed their 12th straight losing season with their 12th consecutive Big 12 loss, 45-14 to Oklahoma State.

Houston (8-4) has already accepted an invitation to play in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 28 in Houston against an undetermined opponent. The Cougars won the Conference USA title last season.

Briles was 34-28 in five seasons at Houston with only one losing season. Before his arrival, the Cougars had only two winning seasons in the previous 12 years.

Before going to Houston, where he was a four-year letterman as a receiver and played in the 1976 Cotton Bowl, Briles spent three seasons as running backs coach at Texas Tech. His previous head coaching job had been at Stephenville High School, where in 12 seasons he was 136-29-2 and won four Texas state championships.

 

 

Morriss was 18-40 overall, 7-33 in conference games. The Bears were 0-8 in the Big 12 this season.

The leading candidate initially was Mike Singletary, the assistant head coach for the San Francisco 49ers. But the Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker and Baylor icon took his name out of consideration after a lengthy meeting with McCaw last week in California.

Briles was also on Baylor's short list, along with Houston Nutt, who resigned at Arkansas on Monday and was hired by Mississippi on Tuesday.

Baylor's 12 consecutive losing seasons have come under the four coaches since Grant Teaff left in 1992 after 128 victories and eight bowl appearances in 21 seasons.

The Bears are the only Big 12 team without a bowl appearance since the conference's inception in 1996. Only two teams from Bowl Championship Series conferences have gone longer without a bowl, but Indiana (7-5) is expected to play its first postseason game in 14 years. Vanderbilt (5-7) lost its season finale to miss making its first bowl in 25 years.

There were some positive accomplishments under Morriss, a 15-season NFL lineman who was 9-14 in two seasons at Kentucky before taking the Baylor job.

Baylor beat two-time defending North Division champion Colorado in Morriss' conference debut in 2003. The coach also delivered the first Big 12 road victory, in 2005 at Iowa State, and then in 2006 the Bears won three Big 12 games in the same season for the first time.

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