Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett was offered the team's interim head coaching position Thursday and is expected to accept the job, multiple sources told ESPN's Jeannine Edwards.
The move would follow Thursday's announcement that Baylor will fire head coach Art Briles after the release of a report on the school's response to allegations of sexual assaults by students, including several football players.
Briles and the coaching staff were stunned and devastated by the decision to fire the coach, the sources told Edwards.
The coaching staff has been inundated with phone calls and texts from players asking how Briles' dismissal will affect them and what they should do, according to the sources.
Bennett, 60, has been Baylor's defensive coordinator for the last five seasons. He was SMU's head coach for six seasons from 2002 to 2007 and guided the Mustangs to an 18-51 record.
Briles, who turned the football program from a laughingstock into a Big 12 powerhouse during his eight seasons with Baylor, was suspended with intent to terminate as part of major changes announced Thursday. Kenneth Starr will no longer serve as Baylor president, although he will remain at the school. Athletic director Ian McCaw was also sanctioned and put on probation.
Baylor's actions come after the university's board of regents received an independent report from a law firm that investigated the school's response to the allegations.
"We were horrified by the extent of these acts of sexual violence on our campus. This investigation revealed the University's mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive and caring environment for students," Richard Willis, chairman of the Baylor board of regents, said in a statement.
"The depth to which these acts occurred shocked and outraged us. Our students and their families deserve more, and we have committed our full attention to improving our processes, establishing accountability and ensuring appropriate actions are taken to support former, current and future students."
Willis said during a teleconference Thursday that there was nothing in the report, conducted by Philadelphia-based law firm Pepper Hamilton, that reflected negatively on Bennett.
"There was nothing in what we've been read or been shown by Pepper Hamilton that had anything specific for Phil," Willis said during the teleconference.
Briles and McCaw have been criticized for recruiting players who were dismissed by their former schools, and for the way they disciplined players who allegedly committed violent acts against women and other assaults.
Two Baylor players accused of sexual assault were recruited by Briles after they were dismissed from their previous schools for off-field problems. In August 2015, former Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu was sentenced to 180 days in jail after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a women's soccer player.
Briles was criticized for accepting Ukwuachu as a transfer student after then-Boise State coach Chris Petersen dismissed him from the team for off-field issues. Ukwuachu's former girlfriend testified at his trial that he had struck and choked her when he attended Boise State.
Then, in April, former Bears star defensive end Shawn Oakman was arrested on a charge of sexual assault. A Baylor graduate student told Waco, Texas, police that Oakman "forcibly removed" her clothes, forced her onto his bed and then sexually assaulted her on April 3, according to an arrest warrant obtained by ESPN.
Oakman, the school's all-time sacks leader who wasn't selected in last month's NFL draft, told police he had consensual sex with the woman. Oakman was dismissed from Penn State after he allegedly grabbed the wrist of a female store clerk.
The university's findings revealed that "Baylor did not consistently conduct due diligence" in vetting transfers in criminal or student-conduct matters. The university found that protocol was inconsistently applied with regard to "criminal background checks, request for records of any prior college disciplinary actions, and character reference screening forms."
ESPN's Mark Schlabach and The Associated Press contributed to this report.