Art Briles

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Art Briles
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Baylor
Conference Big 12
Record 55–34
Annual salary $ 4.2 million[1]
Biographical details
Born (1955-12-03) December 3, 1955 (age 59)
Rule, Texas
Alma mater Texas Tech University (B.A., 1979)
Abilene Christian University (M.Ed., 1984)
Playing career
1974–1977 Houston
Position(s) Wide receiver
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Sundown (TX) HS (assistant)
Sweetwater (TX) HS (assistant)
Hamlin (TX) HS
Georgetown (TX) HS
Stephenville (TX) HS
Texas Tech (RB)
Head coaching record
Overall 89–62 (college)
166–46–4 (high school)[2]
Bowls 2–6
Accomplishments and honors
1 C-USA (2006)
2 C-USA West Division (2006–2007)
2 Big 12 (2013, 2014)

Arthur Ray Briles (born December 3, 1955) is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the head football coach at Baylor University, a position he has held since the 2008 season. From 2002 to 2007, Briles was the head coach at the University of Houston. He is also the author of Beating Goliath: My Story of Football and Faith (2014).[3]

Playing career[edit]

A native of Rule, Texas, Briles attended Rule High School, where he was coached by his father. Playing quarterback and earning all-state honors, Briles led Rule to the Texas Class B state championship game as a senior in 1973, where they lost to Big Sandy led by David Overstreet and Lovie Smith.[4] Briles accepted a scholarship offer by Bill Yeoman at the University of Houston, where he switched to wide receiver and played three seasons, including the 1977 Cotton Bowl Classic. Briles' parents and aunt died in a car crash on U.S. Route 380 near Newcastle, Texas, while on their way to Dallas to see him play in a game on October 16, 1976.[4] His then-girlfriend and now wife, the former Jan Allison, had planned to make the trip with his family, but decided to stay behind in Rule to attend a friend's bridal shower.[4] After finishing the 1976–77 academic year, Briles left Houston and transferred to Texas Tech, which Jan was attending at the time,[4] to complete his bachelor's degree, which he earned in 1979.[5][6] He went on to earn a master's degree in education at Abilene Christian University before entering coaching.[5] Briles is a staunch churchgoer and has attested to the role his faith has had in influencing his coaching.[7]

Coaching career[edit]

High school[edit]

Briles began his coaching career as an assistant at Sundown High School. From 1980 to 1983, he served as an assistant at Sweetwater High School. At age 28, he became head coach at 2A Hamlin High School, where he coached from 1984 to 1985. He guided the team to a 27–1–1 record including a 35–19 loss to Electra High School in the 1985 state semifinals. His instant success caught the attention of bigger schools, so Briles left Hamlin for 5A Georgetown High School in 1986, where he had a difficult two-year span in the school's first two seasons at the highest classification in Texas high school football at the time. Briles left the school in 1987 with a 4–15–1 overall record.

In 1988, he took over head coaching duties at 4A Stephenville High School in Stephenville, Texas, a school that was playing in the same area as state powerhouse Brownwood High School and had not reached the playoffs in football since 1952. After a 4–5–1 season in 1989, Briles' Stephenville squads made the playoffs in 1990 and ever since. During Briles' tenure they won four state championships, including back-to-back titles in 1993 and 1994, and then again in 1998 and 1999. Coincidentally, in the 1993 and '94 state finals Briles' Stephenville squads faced La Marque, then coached by Briles' defensive coordinator at Houston, Alan Weddell. Briles' record at Stephenville was 135–29–2[2]

Although Stephenville's offense was devastating throughout the 1990s, Briles shifted his offensive scheme from a running game in the early 90s to a passing game in the late 90s. Stephenville's first two state championship teams scored 89 touchdowns rushing in 1993, and 96 touchdowns rushing in 1994, which was second and third all-time in the nation, respectively, only behind Big Sandy's national record 114 touchdowns rushing from the 1975 season. In the late 90s, Briles adapted the spread offense and today is one of the coaches credited for introducing it to Texas high school football.[9] His 1998 team posted 8,664 yards of total offense, breaking the 73-year-old national record 8,588 yards originally established by Pine Bluff High School in 1925.

Briles was also known for developing quarterbacks, sending six of his former players to Division I colleges, including Kelan Luker, Branndon Stewart, Kevin Kolb, and his son Kendal Briles.

Briles ended his high school coaching career with a record of 165–46–3.[2]


Briles left Stephenville after the 1999 season to join Mike Leach's staff at Texas Tech. While serving as running backs coach, Briles improved Texas Tech's rushing average every year from 66.4 yards a game in his first year to 99.6 yards a game in 2002. He also coached all-conference backs and later NFL players Ricky A. Williams, Shaud Williams, and Taurean Henderson. In addition, the very first player he recruited to Texas Tech, undersized wide receiver Wes Welker, went on to catch more than 250 passes and return an NCAA-record eight punts for touchdowns while at Tech, and then had even greater success in the NFL with five Pro Bowl appearances.[4]

In 2003, Briles was hired as head coach at the University of Houston, where he took over a program that had an 8–26 record under the previous coach, Dana Dimel. The Cougars went 0–11 just two years before Briles' arrival. In his first season, Briles led the Cougars to a 7–5 record, including a 54-48 triple overtime loss to Hawaiʻi, in the Sheraton Hawaiʻi Bowl.

After a 3–8 season in 2004, Briles guided the Cougars to a 6–6 season and another bowl game in 2005. In 2006, he led the Cougars to a 10–4 record and the Conference USA Championship that was played on December 1, 2006. The Cougars won the game 34–20 and it was the school's second C-USA Championship (the first came in 1996, in the school's inaugural season in the C-USA).

In 2007, the Cougars finished second in the Conference USA West Division to Todd Graham's Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Houston was invited to the Texas Bowl, which was played December 28, 2007 at Reliant Stadium.[10] It was Houston's fourth bowl appearance in five years. Briles left the Cougars before their bowl game to take the head coaching job at Baylor.

Briles interviewed for the Baylor head coach position on November 27, 2007, and was hired the next day for a seven-year term.[11][12][13] At Baylor, Briles was faced with a familiar task to turn around another rebounding program. Within three years, Art Briles led the Baylor Bears to their first bowl game in 15 years.

In his first season at Baylor, Briles led the Bears to a 4–8 record, 2–6 in Big 12 play. The season featured the emergence of freshman quarterback Robert Griffin, and the team's second win in 23 years over rival Texas A&M. In his second season at Baylor, the Bears again finished with a 4–8 record. However, they only went 1–7 in Big 12 conference play. Griffin was injured and missed every conference game. Baylor bounced back in 2010 with a 7–5 (4–4 conference) record with Griffin, who passed for over 3,000 yards, at the helm. This led to a bid in the Texas Bowl where they played Illinois.

Briles led the 2011 Baylor team in its most successful season since the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996. With Baylor's win in the 2011 Valero Alamo Bowl game, Briles led the Bears to a 10–3 record. The only other time Baylor has won as many as 10 games was in 1980. The 2011 season opened at home against 14-ranked TCU. In a nationally televised game, Baylor won a dramatic 50–48 decision. It was Baylor's first win over a ranked opponent since 2004. In Big 12 Conference play the Bears would accumulate a 6–3 record, eclipsing their previous high of 4 conference wins in 2010. The Bears finished a perfect 7–0 at Floyd Casey Stadium, including a 45–38 upset victory over the #5 Oklahoma Sooners and a 48–24 victory over #22 Texas. The victory over Oklahoma was the first for the Bears, having lost the previous 20 meetings between the two schools. In 2011, Baylor also defeated Texas Tech for the first time since 1995 (snapping a 15 game losing streak to the Red Raiders). Following the conclusion of the 2011 regular season, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, whom Briles was instrumental in recruiting and developing, was awarded the 77th annual Heisman Trophy.[14]

Briles has won 17 Big 12 conference games in his five years as head coach. Baylor had won only 11 Big 12 conference games in the 12 seasons preceding his arrival.

Under Briles, the Bears completed the 2012 regular season by winning four of their last five games. Perhaps the apex of Briles' 2012 season was his involvement in the most-stunning upset of 2012 when his unranked Bears defeated the Kansas State Wildcats, BCS Number-1 ranked team at the time, by a score of 52-24, which propelled Baylor in winning its final 3 games, earning the Bears an invitation to play UCLA in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego.[15]

In 2013, Briles led Baylor to arguably the best season in school history. The Bears started the season 9-0, propelling them as high as third in the nation at one point. They ultimately finished with a school-record 11 wins and only the second top-ten finish in school history. A 30-10 win over Texas in the final game of the season garnered them the Big 12 Championship and the school's first-ever BCS bowl appearance with a trip to the 2014 Fiesta Bowl. News reports on the day after the Fiesta Bowl named Briles as the leading candidate to replace Mack Brown as head coach at the University of Texas, however, Briles would announce on January 3 his return to Baylor for the foreseeable future.

In 2014 Briles again coached the Bears to another outstanding season. The Bears finished with another 11 win season and repeated as Big 12 Champions; this time earning a berth in the Cotton Bowl Classic, one of the prestigious New Years Six bowl games. Baylor also finished the year ranked #7 in the AP poll, their third top ten finish in school history.

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Houston Cougars (Conference USA) (2003–2007)
2003 Houston 7–6 4–4 T–6th L Hawaiʻi
2004 Houston 3–8 3–5 T–5th
2005 Houston 6–6 4–4 T–3rd (West) L Fort Worth
2006 Houston 10–4 7–1 1st (West) L Liberty
2007 Houston 8–4 6–2 T–1st (West) Texas*
Houston: 34–28 24–16 *Left Houston before bowl game
Baylor Bears (Big 12 Conference) (2008–present)
2008 Baylor 4–8 2–6 T–5th (South)
2009 Baylor 4–8 1–7 6th (South)
2010 Baylor 7–6 4–4 4th (South) L Texas
2011 Baylor 10–3 6–3 T–3rd W Alamo 12 13
2012 Baylor 8–5 4–5 T–5th W Holiday
2013 Baylor 11–2 8–1 1st L Fiesta 13 13
2014 Baylor 11–2 8–1 T–1st L Cotton 8 7
Baylor: 55–34 33–27
Total: 89–62
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates Bowl Coalition, Bowl Alliance, Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl, or College Football Playoff (CFP) game.
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


  1. ^ "Art Briles". Coaches Hot Seat. 
  2. ^ a b c "Texas High School Football All-Time Coaching Wins". Lone Star Gridiron. 2007-08-13. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d e Schlabach, Mark (November 5, 2013). "Baylor Bears football coach Art Briles forges his own path after family tragedy". 
  5. ^ a b "Car crash puts things in perspective for Art Briles". ESPN. 2005-12-23. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  6. ^ "Baylor coach Briles suffered loss of parents early". 
  7. ^ Robbins, Kevin (2008-02-03). "Baylor football coach shaped by life and death in tiny Texas town". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  8. ^ Werner, John (2007-11-29). "Former Baylor coach Teaff among those praising Briles' hiring". Waco Tribune. 
  9. ^ Osborne, Jeff (2007-11-30). "Briles built Stephenville into football powerhouse". Waco Tribune. 
  10. ^ "UH accepts bid to play in Texas Bowl". Houston Chronicle. 
  11. ^ "Houston's Briles set to interview at Baylor". Houston Chronicle. 
  12. ^ Davis, Brian (2007-11-29). "Briles the choice to bring Baylor football back". Dallas Morning News. 
  13. ^ "Complete Transcript from Coach Briles Press Conference". Baylor Athletics (Baylor University). 2007-12-28. 
  14. ^ Viera, Mark (2011-12-10). "Baylor's Griffin wins Heisman". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  15. ^ Hawkins, Stephen (2012-11-20). "Kansas State's clear run to BCS title game blocked". Daily & Sunday Jeffersonian (Cambridge, Ohio). Retrieved 2012-11-20. 

External links[edit]