After I reported yesterday that current Baylor Coach Art Briles will be hired by Texas Tech as its football coach, the Lubbock, Dallas and Waco media went into action, eventually nailing down denials from Tech Chancellor Kent Hance, Athletic Director Gerald Myers and Baylor AD Ian McCaw that Briles would move to Lubbock.
(Everyone telling us what Briles will do, except Briles.)
What’s interesting is that many of the same media outlets ruling Briles out for Tech were earlier the same day reporting Briles as a strong candidate for the job. At least that is, before I reported that Briles would get the job - with those same outlets subsequently getting a party line from Tech administrators. And right up until I reported Briles would get the job, the Tech and Baylor administrations were completely silent on the prospect of a Briles hire.
Once such reactionary denial came from Tech AD Gerald Myers to the LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL.
Before I relay what Myers said to Don Williams of the Lubbock print outlet, I want to unequivocally confirm that two sources in the past 24 hours told me that Briles’ reported $4M contract buyout is not a factor in whether Tech hires Briles. In fact, last week I was told Briles had previously offered to help defray some of the cost of the clause himself.
That point is reinforced by the publisher of Rivals’ Texas Tech website, Chris Level. Level, who is also a television and radio personality, Tweeted yesterday,
“It was too much money for someone that just went 4-8 for a school with limited funds even though two donors were ready to pay for it.“
Level himself maintains that Briles will stay at Baylor but he did confirm that Tech had the resources to cover the buyout in the coach’s deal.
Now, here’s some excerpts from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal today as it pertains to Tech AD Gerald Myers‘ portrayal of why Briles will not be hired by the Red Raiders:
Briles has been on Tech’s list since Mike Leach was fired last week, but the prospect of his returning to the school where he was an assistant for three years is dead, mostly because of the buyout in Briles’ contract at Baylor.
“It was a big factor,’’ a source said. “It’s $4 million. It was just way too high.’’
Tech sought permission from Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw on Tuesday to discuss the job with Briles.
The source said Briles was “talked to,’’ but arranging a formal interview became a moot point because of the money needed to buy out Briles’ contract.
First, Tech officials have long known about Briles’ buyout. Everyone know about it. It’s appallingly high just for this kind of circumstance. So if the buyout was a dealbreaker, why try to contact Briles in the first place?
Second, McCaw denied on video to Waco TV station KWTX Tuesday night that Briles ever talked to Tech. McCaw claimed that he gave Tech permission to speak to Briles but the Baylor coach said he didn’t want to talk to Tech officials - and that he told McCaw he was committed to the Bears.
Lubbock KCBD-TV (NBC) Sports Director Pete Christy’s reax to McCaw’s claims:
If you watched our news…Baylor AD say Briles declined to talk to Tech. Does he really think they were not talking? … LOL
More from the Avalanche-Journal on supposedly why Myers turned down Briles for the job:
“If there hadn’t been a buyout, he would have been a very serious candidate,’’ the source said. “But he was not as serious as the media was making him out to be, because the $4 million was the stumbling block. So I don’t think anyone in the administration considered him that seriously because of the buyout.’’
Myers said he thought contract negotiations between Briles and Baylor were a factor.
“He just called and told us he was staying at Baylor,’’ Myers said. “We just heard that he had signed an extension and a new contract, so I guess he got that done and decided that’s what he wanted to do.’’
But wait, Baylor AD McCaw said Tuesday night that Briles never talked to Myers or anyone from Tech? It has also been widely reported that Briles has not signed a contract extension that was recently offered by the school. If Briles did indeed sign the extension, Baylor would trumpet that to the media and recruits in one second. But they haven’t, because Briles hasn’t inked the deal.
And who do you think is the Avalanche-Journal’s source on the buyout being the dealbreaker? If it isn’t Myers, it’s someone close to him like Tech Chancellor Hance.
As any reasonable person knows, major college coaching hires often take unexpected turns for whatever reason. In this particular situation, it’s obvious that the people involved in the process are misrepresenting what is really happening behind the scenes.
For that reason, I would advise everyone to reserve judgement until the contract is signed after the introductory press conference.
Finally, on the subject of Briles hiding from the media during this entire ordeal, just exactly where is he? I’ve had a lot of folks tell me he’s out recruiting, but with the media splashing the story of him possibly going to Tech the past week, how practical is that at the moment?
Unless he’s recruiting in Greenland, I’m guessing his cell service is still intact. Why isn’t he calling in to a prominent media outlet and proclaiming his intentions to stay at Baylor? And why hasn’t he signed that extension?
At the very least, that would certainly help his “recruiting” at the moment.
Briles’ silence is deafening.