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Oklahoma-Baylor: Why Art Briles is the perfect fit for Baylor

Baylor football not so long ago was beleaguered, but then the school hired Art Briles. Now the Bears are 7-0, ranked nationally, are the favorite to win the Big 12 and in contention for the national championship.
by Berry Tramel Published: November 3, 2013

A coach with a great football mind and the personality to win recruiting battles, with that kind of geography, has a fighting chance.

“I have watched him for a long time,” Teaff said. “There's not an ounce of pretense in his body. He's a real person. He relates to people. He relates to kids extremely well. He has been successful on all levels.

“The system he has, it's extremely consistent. It's worked wherever he's been. None of this is a surprise at all to me.”

McCaw came to Baylor 10 years ago from the University of Massachusetts. Baylor had gone 4-7, 2-9, 2-9, 1-10, 2-9, 3-8 and 3-9 since the Big 12's 1996 formation.

“I knew we had a lot of work to do,” McCaw said. “I came from Amherst (Mass.). I thought our talent level here was about the same. That's not good.”

Starting in 2003, Guy Morriss coached Baylor five seasons, going 18-40 overall. McCaw fired Morriss and hired Briles.

Briles and McCaw established a concrete plan: 1. become competitive; 2. get to a bowl game; 3. compete for a Big 12 title.

The Bears were competitive early, beating Texas A&M in 2008, Missouri in 2009 and playing Nebraska tough both years. Baylor made the Houston Bowl in 2010, Briles' third season. And now they're the Big 12 front-runner.

The success of 2011 — Griffin's Heisman, a 10-3 record capped by a six-game winning streak that included victories over OU, Texas Tech, Texas and Washington — made for a financial bonanza.

Donors rallied around the stadium project. University fundraising exploded. Alumni relations have improved. Student admissions have soared.

Now, McCaw's biggest problem might be keeping his coach. Briles is mentioned as a candidate at Texas, should this be Mack Brown's final season.

“He's turned this into a destination job,” McCaw said. “This is his program. He's built it from the ground up. He's really proud of it. We look forward to him continuing to lead our football program for many years to come.”

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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Born: Dec. 3, 1955, Rule, Texas.

High school: Rule High School, played quarterback for his father.

College: University of Houston, played wide receiver for Bill Yeoman, 1974-77.

Texas high school coaching: Sundown assistant, 1979; Sweetwater assistant, 1980-83; Hamlin head coach, 1984-85; Georgetown head coach, 1986-87; Stephenville head coach 1988-99.

College coaching: Texas Tech running backs, 2000-02; Houston head coach, 2003-07; Baylor head coach, 2008-13.

High school record: 166-46-4, four state championships.

College record: 74-58; 34-28 at Houston, 40-30 at Baylor.


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