It looks like Art Briles is set to officially have his first coaching job since he was fired from Baylor. Given what happened last summer, there’s got to be a little bit of a hedge.
Italian football team Guelfi Firenze announced Thursday that Briles would be the team’s coach. It’s the second time a team has announced Briles would be joining its coaching staff since his Baylor firing and it would be the first coaching job for Briles since then if he actually coaches for the team.
“We are thrilled that Coach Briles has accepted our offer and will be our Head Coach for the 2019 season,” general manager Edoardo Cammi of the Florence-based team said in a statement. “We are all excited about the opportunity. Our team and we can not wait to welcome him on our Guelphs Family starting from the offseason.”
Briles told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram before the announcement that he would be free to take a job in the United States (if it was offered) and get out of the deal to join the Italian team. Guelfi Firenzi’s league starts play in March.
If we had to guess we’d venture that Briles will not be getting a job offer before he’s supposed to head to Italy in the fall. Guelfi Firenze plays in the Italian (American) Football Federation.
‘I am confident the truth will come out’
Briles also told the Star-Telegram that he felt “betrayed” with what happened at Baylor. Briles was fired in May of 2016 in the aftermath of an investigation into the way that the school handled sexual assaults.
“Hindsight is a blessing and a curse. I’ve always been about trying to be fair and honest with everyone I came into contact with,” Briles said. “The thing that hurts me as much as anything [was] the culture at Baylor at the time; I don’t think victims, I know they didn’t feel comfortable going to report assaults that took place. I don’t think they were represented and taken care of with the level that needed to be handled with. That’s something that through all of this and as time goes will become more clear.
“Not only me but many of us felt betrayed because we were not privy to the information that was available in a way we wanted to respond. … With the way things are going, with some of the transparency starting to take place, I am confident the truth will come out. It’s not just important for me.”
Regents for Baylor said Briles had discussed an alleged gang rape by football players with former athletic director Ian McCaw and had allegedly asked why the woman was with the “bad dudes.” He also has dropped his defamation suit against the university.
After a player allegedly exposed himself and asked for favors after getting a massage in 2013, Briles allegedly texted a staffer that it was “not quite as bad” than if the player was a stripper. That allegation is in the same set of documents that revealed his alleged response to the rape accusation.
Briles has also been accused of not reporting an accusation of gang rape to the school’s title IX officials.
Briles was briefly a CFL coach
Briles was announced last summer as an assistant coach for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. His role in that position lasted all of a day until the CFL and the Tiger-Cats made another statement saying Briles wouldn’t be joining the team after all following the inevitable blowback that had occurred.
In the statement announcing that Briles would no longer be joining Hamilton, the team’s GM said it made a “large and serious mistake.”
Clearly Guelfi Firenze doesn’t think it’s made a mistake hiring Briles this time. And it’s pretty clear that Briles will travel a long way to coach again.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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