Baylor University interim coach Jim Grobe emphasized creating a football culture with integrity and dignity in the wake of the university’s sexual assault scandal.
Grobe made his remarks during his introductory press conference Friday afternoon at McLane Stadium.
“Winning is very, very important, but not at the expense of character and integrity,” Grobe said. “Every decision we make going forward will be made with Baylor University and all of our students and student-athletes in mind. I’m so proud to be a part of a renewed commitment to doing things the right way.”
The 64-year-old Grobe said his contract runs until January 2017, but he hopes it becomes a long-term job.
Grobe said the Baylor football players will be held to a high standard going forward. During his 13 seasons as Wake Forest University’s head coach, Grobe was regarded as a disciplinarian, and he was formerly head of the ethics committee for the American Football Coaches Association.
“This egregious stuff is off the table,” Grobe said. “There’s no tolerance. You can’t bully people, you can’t be involved in sexual assault, sexual harassment. These kinds of things are just not tolerable.”
Grobe said he read the information Baylor released from the Pepper Hamilton report, and his thoughts remain with the victims. He said he wants to create an atmosphere in the football program where everyone is treated with respect while nurturing a safe environment.
“The overwhelming majority of our student-athletes at Baylor are absolutely wonderful kids who make our university proud every day,” Grobe said. “Our football team is no exception. We have a fantastic group of guys who are extremely saddened by what has happened. We are deeply regretful that the actions of a few can hurt so many.”
During his tenure at Wake Forest, Grobe compiled a 77-82 record while reaching five bowl games. His best season was 2006, when he guided the Demon Deacons to a 13-3 record and the Atlantic Coast Conference championship.
But he had been out of coaching since 2013 when he resigned following five straight losing seasons. Grobe met with Baylor officials on Saturday in Dallas, and two days later was named the Bears’ acting head coach.
“He said, ‘I’m here to help. I just want to help and I want to be part of the solution,’ ” Baylor interim athletic director Todd Patulski said. “He has the utmost respect for Baylor University, and I could see that. He was very genuine and made an impression on me, and that’s one of the reasons it didn’t take us very long to realize that he’s the right guy for this job.”
“Beyond 2016, I would be blessed to have the opportunity to continue to coach,” Grobe said. “But like most coaches, we need to play well, and our kids need to do the right things both on and off the field. My attitude and my coaches’ attitude is if we can take care of business we’ll be all right.”
Grobe plans to keep Art Briles’ former coaching staff intact, and run the same offensive and defensive schemes that have helped the Bears record a 50-15 record with two Big 12 championships in the last five years.
Grobe doesn’t expect the findings from the Pepper Hamilton report to prevent any of the assistant coaches from staying at Baylor. The staff includes Art Briles’ son, offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, and his son-in-law, running backs coach Jeff Lebby.
“I think the mood (of the coaching staff) is probably better than you would expect,” Grobe said. “They love Coach Briles, and I understand that. So, they’re very discouraged. But I think even Kendal is excited that there are not going to be changes. I think the staff understands that the main reason I came here was to be helpful and to take care of them.”
Grobe said when he met with the Baylor players Tuesday morning, he could see they were depressed after Briles was fired. But he said he thought they were encouraged when he told them he plans to keep the assistant coaches on board.
‘Steady the ship’
“When I met with the team, it was a lot of sad players,” Grobe said. “I think one thing we did that calmed everybody down is we’re keeping the staff intact and we’re going to be the same offense and defense. Our goal right now is try to steady the ship and be as consistent day-to-day as we possibly can be.”
Former Baylor football coach Grant Teaff approached Grobe about the job after Briles was fired. They’ve known each other for many years, and worked together in the AFCA when Teaff was president of the organization.
Teaff also hinted that former Baylor All-America linebacker Mike Singletary talked to him about the opening.
“I knew (Grobe) would be an absolute perfect fit at this stage of the game,” Teaff said. “He handles himself very nicely in all circumstances and he is a terrific football coach. There are a lot of great coaches that never get a chance where all the good players and good facilities are. He’s got that chance now, and I think he’ll do extremely well.”