Art Briles visits Cowboys camp, says he will return to coaching
Former Baylor coach Art Briles is confident he will get another chance and says he has learned some lessons after losing his job over allegations that his program mishandled complaints of sexual assault.
In his most extensive public comments since leaving Baylor, Briles said Tuesday while visiting the Dallas Cowboys' training camp that the circumstances leading to his departure were unfortunate for a lot of people, "victims first and foremost."
"Things happen and that happened and it's unfortunate for a lot of people, not myself, being at the last, a lot of other people involved, victims first and foremost," Briles said.
"Then when you break down, assistant coaches that are involved, support staff, players, recruits, it's unfortunate but that's the path that was taken so we'll all learn from it and be better for it. That's going to be my goal."
The 60-year-old Briles said he hadn't thought about whether his former school treated him fairly, but expressed confidence that he would get another job.
"I know who I am, I know what I've been for 60 years. People may doubt what you say, but they'll always believe what you do," Briles said. "I've always lived my life in a righteous manner."
Asked what he had learned, Briles said in his next job that he is "going to make sure I have policies in place that are going to protect everybody, students first and foremost, and then administrators, coaches." He didn't elaborate on what those would be.
Briles was immediately suspended in May after the Pepper Hamilton law firm released a 13-page report that accused football coaches and staff of interfering with investigations into sexual assault complaints against some players, and even impeding potential criminal proceedings.
Baylor President Ken Starr was demoted and athletic director Ian McCaw resigned before Briles reached a settlement with the school over his departure about a month after the report was released. Briles, who had eight seasons left on his contract, said he is still shocked at how everything happened.
"Yeah, I'm dumbfounded and trying to process everything as it goes," Briles said. "It is what it is, reality is reality, so what I've got to do is redefine myself and start a new chapter and that's what I'm doing."
Asked if he will have more of a chance to explain his side of the story before getting back into coaching, Briles said, "That day will come."
While Briles is gone, all of his assistant coaches remain at Baylor with acting head coach Jim Grobe. That group includes Briles' son, Kendal, Baylor's offensive coordinator, and his son-in-law, Jeff Lebby, also an offensive assistant.
The visit with the Cowboys, who include former Baylor receiver Terrance Williams, was the fifth NFL camp Briles has been to this summer. He has also been to Tennessee, Cincinnati and Cleveland, and also watched the Los Angeles Rams work out while in California.
"I've never had the chance to get out and make the rounds, you know, so it's been really refreshing to me," Briles said. "I'm getting ready for the next adventure and this gives me a great opportunity to come see a lot of guys that I've had the privilege to coach."
Among some other questions Briles addressed:
-- About his son and son-in-law still at Baylor: "They'll coach their tail off. They'll do great. They're professionals. They'll coach hard for Baylor. ... I'm thankful for them and hopefully they'll have a great year."
-- Briles said he has known Grobe, the 64-year-old former Wake Forest coach, for seven or eight years. "Great guy. Perfect situation for him 'cause he's just a real good man. And no ego. So he's going to come in and let those guys go to work and let it be as it is."
-- He hopes to be in a new job by the end of the year, knowing that positions are certain to come open as they do every season. He left open the possibility of an NFL position.