Art Briles, fired by Baylor in 2016, to coach in Italy
Former Baylor coach Art Briles, who was fired in the wake of the university's sexual assault scandal in 2016, has been hired to coach an American football team in Italy.
"It's a chance to get back on the field," he told ESPN by phone. "I'm excited. I really am. I'm grateful for the opportunity."
Briles will coach the Guelfi Firenze American football team in Florence, Italy. The story was first reported by the Star-Telegram. Briles said he finalized his one-year contract within the past 24 hours, and he needs to be in Italy by October. The season for the 12-team league that plays under NCAA rules begins in March.
"We are thrilled that Coach Briles has accepted our offer and will be our head coach for the 2019 season," team general manager Edoardo Cammi said in a statement. "We are all excited about the opportunity of having a professional of his stature as our coach, and we can't wait to welcome him on our Guelfi Family starting from the offseason."
Briles, 62, was fired as Baylor's coach on June 24, 2016. He had eight years remaining on a 10-year contract extension he signed in November 2013. He declined to answer any of ESPN's questions about his tenure at Baylor but did talk to the Star-Telegram and said he would eventually speak more about it.
"I would have done more if I had known more," Briles told the Star-Telegram. "When these allegations came out, we found out at the same time you did. I had a meeting with the [Baylor] Board of Regents where I made suggestions that I never had the chance to fulfill; it would have been similar in the NFL that handles the discipline problems that took it out of the football coaches' hands."
This is the second job Briles has accepted since he was fired; a Canadian Football League team hired him last August, but the Hamilton Tiger-Cats reneged on the offer the same day after receiving backlash for the decision. Briles said he and the Italian team have been talking for about three weeks.
"I'm going to get over there and start evaluating personnel and evaluating the league," Briles told ESPN. "It's a 12-team league of American football that plays under NCAA rules. There are two American players I'll be able to bring over and one dual citizenship I'll be involved with."
When asked what two American players he might bring, Briles said, "I haven't even gone there yet. That will be exciting not only for me but for the two players who get to come join our team."
Briles said he will start evaluating personnel in the next couple of months.
"I'm just grateful to be back in an office making football decisions," he said.
Baylor's handling of sexual violence allegations and other complaints involving students and football players has been heavily scrutinized over the past two years.
Ten Title IX lawsuits have been filed against the university by a total of 22 women -- including 20 who alleged being either sexually assaulted or physically assaulted -- and four of the complaints have been either settled or dismissed.