Art Briles speaks out for first time since firing from Baylor

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(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

A week after he was removed from his position as Baylor head coach, Art Briles has spoken publicly for the first time.

In a statement released to News 10 in Waco, Briles expressed sympathy for the victims of sexual assault and admitted he “would have done certain things differently.”

Baylor announced its intent to fire Briles last Thursday as it released the summary findings of an independent investigation by law firm Pepper Hamilton into the school’s handling of sexual assault accusations, many involving Baylor football players.

Briles, who was entering his ninth season with the Bears, said he has not seen Pepper Hamilton’s report.

“I can only assume that the report, which is not independent, supports the conclusions that the Board has already drawn. I hope to share with you what I was aware of as soon as I can so Baylor Nation can begin the healing process,” Briles said.

Here is Briles’ statement in full, via News 10:

Baylor Nation,

My heart goes out to the victims for the pain that they have endured. Sexual assault has no place on our campus or in our society. As a father of two daughters, a grandfather, and a husband, my prayers are with the victims of this type of abuse, wherever they are. After 38 years of coaching, I have certainly made mistakes and, in hindsight, I would have done certain things differently. I always strive to be a better coach, a better father and husband, and a better person.

Keep in mind, the complete scope of what happened here has not been disclosed and unfortunately at this time I am contractually obligated to remain silent on the matter. The report prepared by Pepper Hamilton, the law firm hired and paid for by Baylor’s Board of Regents, has not been shared with me directly, despite my full cooperation with the investigation. I can only assume that the report, which is not independent, supports the conclusions that the Board has already drawn. I hope to share with you what I was aware of as soon as I can so Baylor Nation can begin the healing process.

I have the utmost admiration for Baylor University, its community, and its important mission. I am truly grateful for having had the chance to coach hundreds of young student athletes at this University. I am deeply humbled for having had the opportunity to be a part of Baylor Nation.

Coach Art Briles

The Pepper Hamilton report’s summary findings, which was released by the Baylor Board of Regents, detailed misconduct within the football program and the alleged involvement of football staff in assault investigations.

“In some cases, football coaches and staff had inappropriate involvement in disciplinary and criminal matters or engaged in improper conduct that reinforced an overall perception that football was above the rules and that there was no culture of accountability for misconduct," it said.

Two former Baylor players, Tevin Elliott and Sam Ukwuachu, have been convicted of rape. Several others, including Shawn Oakman, the school’s all-time leader in sacks, have been accused of sexual assault.

Briles, in his eight seasons with the program, compiled a 65-37 overall record and, most notably, brought the Bears within the brink of a College Football Playoff berth in 2014. The Bears went 10-3 and beat North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl in 2015, Briles’ final season.

Baylor hired former Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe as acting head coach earlier this week.

In addition to the removal of Briles, both school president Ken Starr and athletic director Ian McCaw have stepped down. Two other football staffers, assistant athletic director for football operations Colin Shillinglaw and associate athletic director for community relations and special projects Tom Hill have also been fired, according to multiple reports.

For more Baylor news, visit SicEmSports.com.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!