Southern Miss

Southern Miss football set to interview former Baylor head coach Art Briles

After Hugh Freeze and Rich Rodriguez were recently awarded second chances in their coaching careers, Southern Miss may be on the verge of giving Art Briles his.

The former Baylor football head coach was on the Hattiesburg campus Monday to interview for USM’s vacant offensive coordinator position, a source has confirmed to the Sun Herald.

Briles was fired by Baylor in May of 2016 after the university commissioned a third-party law firm to investigate the school’s handling of misconduct within the athletic department, including allegations of violence against women. The investigation found that Baylor football coaches failed to report complaints against players.

There is an ongoing NCAA investigation into the conduct of the Baylor athletic department. The school has settled five Title IX lawsuits over allegations from former students.

Former Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw, who is now at Liberty, told last week that he believes Briles will be “largely exonerated” and will be in the running for a head coaching job this year.

Briles’ son, Kendal, has had little problem finding work after the Baylor staff was dismantled in 2016. He served as the offensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic in 2017 and at Houston this past season. In December, he was hired to take over as Florida State’s offensive coordinator.

Briles was hired on Aug. 28, 2017, as an assistant coach for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League, but was let go after the league faced criticism for the move. He most recently served as the head coach of the Estra Guelfi Firenze squad in the Italian Federation of American Football.

Baylor hired Briles away from Houston in 2008 and lead the Bears to a record of 65-37, including two Big 12 titles.

Briles, 63, was the head coach at Houston from 2003-07, putting together a record of 34-28.

Briles’ spread offense put up huge numbers at both Baylor and Houston. In 2013, the Bears averaged 618.8 yards a game on the way to a Fiesta Bowl bid. Under his direction, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III won the 2011 Heisman Trophy.

USM head coach Jay Hopson has been looking to hire an offensive coordinator since Shannon Dawson was hired to become a member of Dana Holgorsen’s staff at Houston last month.

Patrick Magee is a sports writer who has covered South Mississippi for much of the last two decades. From Southern Miss to high schools, he stays on top of it all.