Amid speculation that he was a candidate for the head football coach post at the University of Texas, Baylor University coach Art Briles said in a statement Friday that he has no interest in pursuing other coaching positions.
There also had been speculation that the Washington Redskins were interested in pursuing Briles. But the sixth-year Baylor coach made it clear that he plans to stay in Waco for many more seasons.
“I have no desire to pursue other coaching positions,” Briles said. “As I’ve said many times, I am both humbled and honored to be the head coach at Baylor University, and believe we have something special going here. I look forward to leading the Bears onto the field next fall at McLane Stadium and defending our Big 12 championship that our players and coaches worked so hard to win this season.
“There is tremendous excitement for our program’s future, and I look forward to many more great seasons at Baylor,” he said. “There is tremendous commitment from our university leadership, athletic administration, coaches and student-athletes — it truly is a great time to be a Baylor Bear.”
Briles led the Bears to their first Big 12 championship and a school-record 11-2 finish this season. The Bears earned their first BCS bowl berth, losing a 52-42 decision to Central Florida in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Wednesday in Glendale, Ariz.
Briles, 58, signed a 10-year contract extension with Baylor in November that will reportedly pay him in the $4 million range annually. Baylor will move into the $260 million McLane Stadium next season after shutting down 63-year-old Floyd Casey Stadium with a 30-10 win against Texas on Dec. 7.
Drayton McLane Jr., a longtime Baylor benefactor and former board of regents chairman who gave the lead gift for the new on-campus stadium, celebrated Briles’ decision to stay put.
“Art called me and said he had great news, that he was totally committed to Baylor and ready to open the season when we play SMU,” McLane said. “He said he and his family are very comfortable with the decision. I’m elated, too, because we’ve reached unparalleled heights with Art.”
During his six seasons at Baylor, Briles has taken the program from a cellar dweller to a school-record four straight bowl games. During the last four seasons, the Bears have compiled a 36-16 record with wins in the Alamo and Holiday bowls.
“Baylor Nation is deeply indebted to Coach Briles for his vision, passion and commitment to build Baylor football into a championship program,” Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw said. “He is the architect of one of the greatest transformations in college football. With the recent investments in facilities and infrastructure highlighted by McLane Stadium, Baylor football is positioned for incredible success and a bright future under his leadership.”
The Texas Longhorns’ head coaching position opened Dec. 15 when Mack Brown resigned after 16 seasons, and Briles had been rumored to be a candidate along with other coaches like Louisville’s Charlie Strong, Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and UCLA’s Jim Mora.
Baylor head women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey was thrilled when she heard that Briles is staying.
“I was saying lots of prayers that he would stay at Baylor,” Mulkey said. “I love the guy. I love what he’s done for Baylor football and the whole university. I’ll say this: Baylor is going to take care of all of us if we do our job, and I don’t know that a whole lot of universities are as loyal today as they need to be to coaches.”