Torn between winning and ethics, Southern Miss is reportedly in the business of second chances as the football program makes a controversial push at filling its offensive coordinator vacancy and the baggage that could come with it.
First reported by Patrick Magee of the Sun Herald, former Baylor Head Coach Art Briles was interviewed for the position in Hattiesburg earlier today.
News 25 has since confirmed the news with multiple sources saying Briles was “100 percent in the Duff Athletic Center today.”
Briles was fired from his post with the Bears in May 2016 after a third-party law firm found that Baylor coaches failed to report complaints against players when it came to allegations of violence against women.
On the field, Briles led the Bears to a pair of Big 12 titles with an overall record of 65-37 during his eight seasons in Waco.
If hired, Briles would be replacing Shannon Dawson who took a job as Houston’s offensive assistant coach last month.
Here’s more from Patrick Magee on this afternoon’s Paul Finebaum show on ESPN with a mixed bag of backlash and support surrounding the potential hire. “(Let’s get to the reaction side of this. Is it really worth it, bringing him in?) For some Southern Miss fans no, it’s not worth it. I didn’t know how a lot of fans would react to this when it first came out but I think it’s been a pretty mixed bag. I think a lot of Southern Miss fans are willing to go along with it because they think it’s going to result in a lot more victories coming up this season, which it should be a good team, have a lot of players coming back. But there’s another side to the coin where a lot of Southern Miss alums, whether their sports fans or just your basic graduate, don’t like the idea of Southern Miss hiring Art Briles when you just do a Google search and find out everything his program is alleged to have done while he was there at Baylor. Just everything I’ve seen just following reaction and people texting me and emailing me, there is a group that’s not happy with this. I think a little bit more than 50 percent are fully willing to go along with Art Briles, but I think there’s also a vocal minority that doesn’t want to see Art Briles on that staff.”
As a part of an ongoing NCAA investigation into the Baylor Athletic Department, the school has settled five title 9 lawsuits over allegations from former students.
So far one of the biggest supporters on the Coach Briles front is the wife of Southern Miss Head Man Jay Hopson, Michelle Hopson.
Today, she quote-tweeted one of Magee’s Twitter posts with only the hashtag ‘second chances.’
As a woman, her backing USM’s potential hire could go a long way especially with former Baylor Athletic Director Ian McCaw going on record with CBS Sports last week saying he expects Briles to be “largely exonerated.”
Now here’s everything we know about today’s timeline with Briles getting an early start on his trip to the Hub City.
According to our sources, Briles had already left the team facility by about 10 a.m., but was then later seen in the locker room at about 3 p.m. This is a fluid situation with a lot of details still left to play out over the coming days.