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Tribune News Service
Mac Engel

Mac Engel: Sonny Dykes hiring Kendal Briles is right decision for TCU

The text message read, “I really hope you rip TCU for this hire.”

Prepare the world for disappointment.

TCU has hired Coach Briles.

SicEm Frogs.

When Jamie Plunkett of Frogs Today broke the news that Kendal Briles was in discussion to replace Garrett Riley as TCU’s offensive coordinator over the weekend, the reaction was on brand when the name “Briles” is in the news.

Pearls were clutched. Pearls were crushed.

There were plenty of emails sent to TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati, and TCU chancellor’s office. Rage. Anger. Disgust. Demands that TCU head coach Sonny Dykes rescind such an offensive offer.

The thought prompted a lot TCU people to insist that their school would be better off hiring Satan as the team’s offensive coordinator.

And right after you’re done throwing your cell phone through the computer screen at this news, ask yourself, “What do I know beyond four or five paragraphs, and headlines to stories that I didn’t pursue?”

If Kendal’s last name was Jackson or Jenner, the backlash would not be this loud.

Dykes already has one member of Briles’ staff with him, strength and conditioning coach Kaz Kazadi. When Kaz was at Baylor, part of his responsibility was to handle discipline when a player messed up; that usually involved early morning running.

In Dykes’ first year at TCU, other than Garrett Riley, no assistant coach was celebrated more than Kaz.

Nothing impacts a memory like winning, or losing.

This hire works if Kendal does what he did in his previous stops, and TCU’s offense keeps scoring touchdowns.

Save for about three, maybe, four people, no one spent more time covering the Baylor fiasco more than I did. I would hire Kendal Briles.

I would also hire Art Briles.

I also don’t blame any coach, university president or AD who wants no part of the “Briles” PR headache factory.

If I had been the Baylor University president in 2016, I would have fired Art, Kendal and the rest of the staff, too.

To suggest that nothing happened, and that university over-reacted to the many sexual assault accusations that besieged both the football program and the school, is not ignorant but cruel.

Many Baylor coeds were hurt, and their pleas to be acknowledged were butchered.

Also, a lot of opportunistic lawyers recognized a wounded, motivated Bear and launched at the school countless allegations, peppered with saucy headlines, knowing a fat “Go Away” check would be offered, out of court.

The sexual assault allegation fiasco that shadowed Baylor for more than a year was a university-wide issue.

But when your football team, which is often the front porch of a university, has the same problems as those in the attic, living room and kitchen, and you’re trying to sell your house, fire up the leaf blower and blow off the stoop.

Too many of the adults at Baylor pointed at the next adult to handle the accusations, and in the process the best part of Baylor - the students themselves - were damaged.

The protocols didn’t exist, or those that did were ignored. There was too much denial. Too much minimizing. Too many adults at Baylor who looked at Art Briles to handle everything when what he wanted to was coach ball.

Art ran a loose program, he took a lot of risks on some borderline players, and he should have kicked guys off the team with extreme prejudice.

He kept thinking the administration would handle it all when their priority was to just keep football rolling.

He needed to be better. He said as much.

To say he condoned rape is cruel, and a continuation of the willful ignoring of details about all of this that trickled out for years.

Kendal Briles, as outlined in previously deliberately leaked reports by Baylor, was beyond dumb when, according to a lawsuit filed in 2017, said to a potential recruit, “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players.”

The truth that no one wants to acknowledge around college football is that this sort of benefit has either been implied, or said, by someone in that position for nearly 80 years.

Decade after decade, who were key parts of an athletic department’s recruiting teams? Pretty young coeds. They were called “hostesses.”

Kendal Briles made not a stupid but a fireable comment; when something like that gets out he’s going to hear it. If he’s dumb enough to still make such comments, he should be fired on the spot.

Since he left Baylor after the 2016 season, he’s worked as an assistant at Florida Atlantic, Houston, Florida State and most recently Arkansas. You haven’t heard much about him.

The same for the rest of that staff who all moved on to other gigs, but one. Art Briles is, and will remain, effectively unhireable.

Dykes has known Art Briles since the two worked together as assistants on Mike Leach’s staff at Texas Tech from 2000 to ‘02. The Dykes’ family would have known the Briles family for years.

That’s why Dykes is hiring Kendal Briles.

Sonny believes he knows the man, and this saga, better than you do.

On this one, he best be right.

While he’s at it, he might want to mix in another playoff appearance, too.

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