Nov. 28, 2007
Dr. John Lilley:
"What a pleasure it is to see all of you here today. Thanks for coming. This is a very special day. It is an honor to be here today and be joined by our regents. We have members of the executive council, faculty, staff, and students. My challenge to our director of athletics, Ian McCaw was to recruit an outstanding head football coach who embraced Baylor's Christian mission, represented our values, understood our vision 2012, and knew how to win with integrity. All of us wanted a coach who would lead us, who would inspire us, and integrity would never be an issue. If there is anything I want you to hear me say today, it is that the regents and I are solemnly committed to establishing a championship football program at Baylor. Ian has done an outstanding job and brought forth a person who can help establish a new era for Baylor football. I am grateful for his good work, and Todd Patulski and others who have worked very hard. My thanks to Harold Cunningham, the chairman of our board."
"I would like to begin by thanking Dr. Lilley and the Board of Regents along with the executive council who have been just incredibly supportive in this process as we've tried to find a leader for our football program to move forward. It is extremely clear to me that Baylor has never been more supportive and committed to its football program than right now. This is a very exciting day as we announce our new football coach. Art Briles embodies all of the characteristics that I was seeking as we began our search 10 days ago for our new football coach. He's a Godly man who believes in Baylor's Christian mission and our academic mission. He demonstrates great character and integrity and a commitment to education. He is regarded as one of the top head coaches and offensive coaches in the nation as evidenced by the University of Houston finishing fourth in the country this year in total offense, and him turning around a program that had won just eight games in the three years before he arrived. Since he arrived, they went to four bowl games in five years and achieved tremendous success. Coach Briles is a relentless recruiter who may have the strongest set of recruiting ties in the state of Texas as any coach in the country. And finally, and most importantly, he is a very genuine and caring person and someone I'm very confident will relate extremely well to the Baylor family as an ambassador for the football program. I have had the chance to make a number of contacts throughout the football community over the past 10 days, and whether it was high school coaches, college coaches or even NFL coaches, everyone spoke extremely highly of Coach Briles. We have been very fortunate to recruit him for our football program. He shared a wonderful vision and brilliant plan on how he is going to build a championship football program here at Baylor."
"Thank you very much. I probably don't need to say anything. Everyone right now thinks I'm a pretty good guy. I'm extremely humbled and honored to be the Baylor head football coach. Y'all have got a good thing going here beginning with these two gentlemen right here. I've been so impressed with the class and the character that they represent this university in; that made me feel comfort in having this great opportunity. It is just a privilege and an honor for me to be able to take this endeavor and to work on it with y'all, with everyone in this room. You don't win, as the great Grant Teaff knows, and I mean that in all sincerity, you don't win without everybody going in the same direction. And Grant was one of the best that I've ever seen as far as pulling people together and getting everybody to believe in the right way and the only way and to represent it in wins. Bottom line, that's what it is all about. I can do all these things and say all these things, but what we have to do is win football games. Y'all are winning in basketball. You are outstanding in track and field, baseball has been to the World Series, but we need to win football games. That's our mission. That's our goal. That's our job. That's what we are going to do to bring Baylor back, not that it isn't where it needs to be, but we are going to get bowl eligible. We are going to win the South. We're going to win the Big 12 championship, and then we'll take it from there. Lip service is easy, but we do have a plan. And we have a mission, and we have a way to follow through with it. I just got through meeting with the team a while ago, and I was really impressed with the guys that are on campus here. But, you know, what we've got to do now, like I told them, is that we have to prepare for greatness every day. You can't sit around and wait and then all of the sudden August shows up and then you are ready to get after it. No you start now. You prepare today for tomorrow. And that's what we have to do. We are going to be a tough, intense, intelligent football team. We are going to have guys on the field that know what they are doing before they do it. It is all about anticipation. That's what we are really going to work into them and make sure they understand. I'm extremely excited by the turnout today. I thought there would be a couple guys with a pencil behind their heads, taking notes. It's a great tribute to you and to the Baylor family to have this positive support. It's my job to make you realize it. We can all talk about beliefs, but what we want to have is reality. So, I really do appreciate the support of everybody coming out today. Baylor has a great football tradition, going back to the Miracle on the Brazos and eating the worm and all that. That's great. There's Walter Abercrombie, Santana Dotson, Mike Singletary. It's got a storied tradition. I was walking through the hallway earlier with Odell James, and somebody took a picture, and I said the caption would say `who is that standing next to Odell James.' I'm so honored and so proud to be a part of this. I'm a Texas guy, and I've spent a lot of time in this part of Texas. You know, we are going to be able to recruit because Baylor is a great faith-based university with a lot to offer to a whole lot of people. With people like you helping us when those guys on campus, and they see the support and the love, then we can make it happen. And we are going to make it happen. So let's get in this thing together. Let's not worry about what happened yesterday. Let's work today and make sure it's a great tomorrow for the Baylor Bears. Sic `Em Bears."
What has to happen to get people thinking about winning and get on a winning track?
Coach Briles: "I think what you expect is what you get. So what I'm going to expect is victories and expect success, and then hopefully that is going to equate into getting it done. I realize what has happened, but I can't concern myself with that. What I can concern myself with is getting together with these guys and starting in a new direction and making something good happen. So that's what we look at. I look at it as coaches are all the same kind of animals, but this to me is an outstanding job; outstanding because of the university and because how you can recruit, and because of the beliefs of the university, and because it can happen. This is a great opportunity. That is the way we are going to treat it and that is how we are going forward with it."
How soon do you hope to have you staff here?
Coach Briles: "Can I run you through my week real quick? I haven't had a whole lot of time. I've got some ideas. That is prioritizing, getting with the players today, giving them a little bit of direction, touching up on recruiting, and then getting the staff together. We've got about 10 days before we go into a dead period, and then we have about a two week break. I can guarantee you that we will have fine Christian men that are dedicated towards the game of football, dedicated to their families and intense on winning football games."
Can you elaborate on your plan to win the Big 12 South and Big 12 Championships?
Coach Briles: "That's a pretty open-ended question. There are a hundred different answers to it. The vision and the plan is that no matter how good you are as a player, get better. However good I am as a coach, get better. Whatever we've got to do, we've got to do better than what we are doing. No matter how good we did yesterday, it wasn't good enough. We are going to get on the field for 60 minutes, and we're going to fight our tails off. We are going to represent this university the way it deserves to be represented. I know how we are going to approach the game. If you approach it from that aspect, and you play intelligent, intense, toughness mentally and physically, and you play anticipation and awareness, then the next thing you know, you have one or two wins under your belt. The next thing you know, you have five or six and you are bowl eligible. Then if you win enough of those conference games in the South, the next thing you know, you are Big 12 South champs. If you knock off the right one or two people, and I hate to use the words knock off because I hope they are thinking that about us, but we have to get to that. Then the next thing you know, you are playing the Big 12 Championship game. Then, you know y'all can read the paper, you know what happens after that. It's a process you can go through."
Will you be coaching the University of Houston in their bowl game?
Coach Briles: "Well that's why I mentioned my week. This is my second press conference and second team meeting today. But what they are going to do is name an interim coach. It has probably already happened by this time, and I will not be coaching in the bowl game. I am a Baylor Bear as of about eleven o'clock this morning and proud to be."
To Ian and Dr. Lilley, can you elaborate on how you are committed to winning?
President Lilley: "I sometimes say that we don't live in the state of Texas, we live in the state of football. This university is making enormous progress in every area, and we just finished the three best years in athletics we have ever had. But somehow, people don't see all of that. As one of our alums who was a fine tennis player here said, `You know, we could win ten tennis championships, but until we win a football championship, we haven't won.' You can say that is not fair, its not fair to our athletes, but that's the way the world works in Texas. I think football for Baylor is very important part of our branding, part of our spirit, part of who we are. Football has a storied tradition at Baylor, and we think Art can bring that tradition back. And what I love about Art is that he is never satisfied because if you are, you just start a slippery slope down."
Athletic Director Ian McCaw: "We have had a lot of success in the Big 12 over the last four years, Baylor has won fifteen Big 12 Championships. Only one school has one more over that period of time. We have great institutions and wonderful facilities, and the university sells itself. Obviously, the reason we are here today is because Coach Briles is going to take over our football program, and he is going to bring it to the same level of our other programs that compete for Big 12 Championships and compete at the national level."
Are you trying to send a statement with a seven year contract?
Athletic Director Ian McCaw: "Our statement is we are committed to Coach Briles because we believe he is going to take Baylor football to get to bowls and compete for a Big 12 Championship."
President Lilley: "Coach Briles in short is a winner. He has always won every step of the way with integrity."
How much do you relish taking a program like Baylor and becoming a winner?
Coach Briles: "That's what drives you. That's really what intrigued me most about this opportunity. As a competitor, you don't feel like there is anything that can't be done. I feel very strongly about the leadership here at Baylor University that I know I am going to get great support. All I've got to do is go motivate some student athletes and get some folks in the stands excited. I don't want them sitting down. I want them up screaming and hollering because home field advantage is a huge advantage. When you are at home, you need to use it. We need to do a job as a Baylor family to make sure that when people walk in out there that this is going to be an experience they want to live through."
Are you set on one offense?
Coach Briles: "Of course I came up with the Houston Veer. A lot of our offense is read-based or veer-based. We will be a multiple offense. We will adapt to our personnel because I don't think you should ask a player to do something that he can't do. You put people in position for success. So we will evaluate how our talent level is, and we will get those guys in the best opportunity to get points on the board. We aren't going to sit around and wait for something to happen. We are not going to use the full 25 unless we are milking the clock at the end of the game. I guarantee you that. We are going to snap the ball and we're going to play."
Will you bring any of your recruits at U of H to Baylor?
Coach Briles: "Our loyalty and our ties and our commitments are to Baylor University first and foremost. As far as recruits, I can't really talk publically about recruiting as far as individuals. But as far as philosophy, we are going to get the best players that we can to Baylor University, and as of right now nobody has signed a letter of intent."
What is the timeline that you have for what you want to accomplish at Baylor University?
Coach Briles: "Just the way I operate is that I'm not on a five-year plan or a seven year deal. We are on a five minute plan. We are going to get it done now. The timeline started at 11:00 a.m. this morning."
Did you ever imagine when you were at Sun Down High School in 1979 that you would end up coaching in the Big 12 Conference?
Coach Briles: "To me, coaching is coaching. It doesn't matter how big the school is. What matters to me is interacting with student athletes and people who are involved with the program. I didn't dream at that time that this would happen. The Big 12 in my opinion is the best conference in America, and I'm very proud to be a part of it. All I ever did was just did right, acted right, thought right. And then I treated people with class and integrity and treat them the way I would like to be treated. You know, I've enjoyed every place I have ever been."
"I feel funny with Coach Teaff sitting here and I'm answering questions and he's the guy with all the knowledge. Coach, if I say something wrong let me know. You've been down this road before, so don't let me get myself in trouble."
Do you see any similarities between Waco and Stephenville?
Coach Briles: "That's one of the things that attracted me to Baylor because people are hungry and their committed, and I'm hungry. I've always had the philosophy that I'm fighting everyday for my next meal because there really are no guarantees. You just have to do your best and work your best, and prepare yourself to be your best. So similarities are that Stephenville was a hungry community. They hadn't won a district championship in 37 years. The University of Houston, Ian McCaw mentioned, had eight victories in the previous three years. So we walked into a situation where people wanted to win and understanding how to win are two different things. I can want to grow hair but it's not going to happen. So what I need to do is realize that's not going to happen. What we have to do is pull the same direction. I'm assuming everybody in this room loves this university. So, lets love it the right way, lets get it going the right way, and let's all be happy next September, October, November, December."
How much did you and Ian talk about the new practice facility?
Coach Briles: "I think it's great for the university. I think it is a very practical move. I think is great vision upon the people who made it become a reality. Of course it is going to help recruiting, which is the lifeline of every university. I think it kind of goes without saying that it will be a very positive move for the university. But we really didn't talk about that much. We talked more philosophically and schematically and faith issues. Facilities don't win games, but they can help you get people on campus that you might not normally get. Once you get them there, you've got to help them reach their potential."
"Dave, now will I get a free magazine now that I'm living in Waco? $8.95 is getting a little stiff."
Can you talk about your range of emotions since your meeting with Ian?
Coach Briles: "I try not to show too much emotion all the time during the football season. At the University of Houston, we just finished 11 straight weeks. Emotionally, I'm pretty stable, and I'm in good shape because we have a plan. We have a vision. We have a goal. We're not playing a game today. Right now, we are setting a standard. As we move past those bridges we will get to some people gritting their teeth next Septmeber, but right now, we have to have a plan and that's my goal right now."
Athletic Director Ian McCaw:
"I'd like to thank all the media for being here, and I would like to apologize for dodging them the last ten days. That's been one of my goals. We have a great number of alumni and friends who are here. I would like to thank you for coming out and supporting coach Briles."