Despite getting fired amid unsavory circumstances back in May, former Baylor head coach Art Briles was in attendance Friday night when the Bears traveled to Houston to play Rice.
Various photos circulated on social media showing Briles sitting among Baylor fans in the stands at Rice Stadium.
— dont stop believing (@justsayin2017) September 17, 2016
— BaylorFans.com (@BaylorFansCom) September 17, 2016
The loudest ovation for first half is still Art Briles showing up on Baylor sideline. Fans stood and cheered whey they recognized him.
— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) September 17, 2016
When reached Friday night by ESPN.com, Briles said he left the game late in the second quarter and wasn’t “trying to be a distraction.”
“I love these players and I love these coaches,” Briles told ESPN.com “I love Baylor Nation. It’s the only time I’ve been able to show up for a game.”
Briles was in attendance for the first half of the game and left the stadium near the end of the second quarter. He said he didn’t notify anybody in the Baylor administration about his intention to attend the game.
“I’m not trying to be a distraction,” Briles said. “It’s about the coaches and it’s about the players.”
Briles was fired after Baylor’s board of regents released findings from an investigation (by Philadelphia-based law firm Pepper Hamilton) into the school’s handling of multiple sexual assault accusations, including several involving Baylor football players. The investigation found failings within the football program and athletic department and resulted in the removal of Briles and president Ken Starr and the resignation of athletic director Ian McCaw.
Former Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe was brought in as acting head coach, and he kept the rest of Briles’ staff entirely intact. That staff includes Briles’ son, offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, and Briles’ son-in-law, running backs coach Jeff Lebby. Kendal Briles paid tribute to his father by writing “CAB” (Coach Art Briles) on his hands for Baylor’s season opener.
Briles has said he wants to get back into coaching, and recently apologized (without offering specifics) in an interview with ESPN that appeared on College GameDay and Outside the Lines.
Briles said he would tell victims of sexual assault at Baylor that he is “extremely sorry.”
“It just appalls me that someone could victimize another human being and there’s no place in society for it and I’ve never condoned it and I never will,” Briles said.
For more Baylor news, visit SicEmSports.com.
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