WACO (AP) – Baylor coach Art Briles has a new 10-year contract with the fourth-ranked Bears, the team he has taken from perennial Big 12 loser to the conference’s lone remaining undefeated team.
Briles told The Associated Press on Wednesday night he is really “humbled and blessed” by the new deal that goes into effect after this season.
“It allows us to do what our job is, concentrate on Texas Tech this Saturday,” Briles said. “We feel fortunate to be at Baylor, and are glad the feeling is mutual.”
Baylor regents approved the deal Wednesday. Financial terms weren’t revealed, which is standard policy for the private university.
When Briles arrived at Baylor six years ago, the Bears had just finished their 12th consecutive losing season under four coaches since the inception of the Big 12.
Briles is 41-30 at Baylor, which is 8-0 for the first time in school history. The Bears are fifth in the BCS standings and have won a school-record 12 games in a row. Briles’ fast-paced spread offense has turned Baylor into a national title contender this season. The Bears are averaging 61 points, on pace to break a major college football record.
The 10-year deal goes through the 2023 season. Briles had already been signed for multiple seasons past this year.
“We’ve got a lot of bridges to cross. We feel like we’re in the infant stages of our program, without question,” said Briles, who turns 58 next month. “That’s what makes it exciting.”
After playing Texas Tech in the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium this weekend, the Bears have games left at 12th-ranked Oklahoma State and TCU. Their regular-season finale, which will be the last game played at Floyd Casey Stadium, is Dec. 7 against 23rd-ranked Texas in what could conceivably determine the Big 12 champion.
Baylor went 4-8 in each of Briles’ first two seasons, including 2009 when Robert Griffin III suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third game of the season.
But in 2010, the Bears had their first winning season as a Big 12 team and made it to their first bowl game in 16 years. A year later, Griffin won the Heisman Trophy while Baylor capped its first 10-win season since Mike Singletary was a linebacker at the school 31 years earlier with a win over Washington in the Alamo Bowl.
Next season, the Bears move into a new $260 million on-campus stadium situated on the banks of the Brazos River.
Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw said in a recent interview with the AP that Briles turned Baylor “into a destination job” after arriving in a position that “was not the most appealing out there.”
“To his credit, Art’s created something here that’s really special and we hope he’s going to see it through to the final line,” McCaw said then.
Briles came to Baylor from Houston, where he was 34-28 in five seasons (2003-07). The Cougars were 0-11 two seasons before he arrived, but Briles led them the 2006 Conference USA championship and four bowl games.
Briles has spent his entire coaching career in Texas, starting in the high school ranks. He won four state championships in his 12 seasons at Stephenville High before becoming the running backs coach at Texas Tech, his alma mater. He spent three seasons with the Red Raiders before going to Houston.
“Obviously, his track record was tremendous, but the things that were especially appealing about him were his ability to turn around programs,” McCaw told the AP last month. “What he did at Stephenville High, taking over a program that really had never won, leading them to four state championships, taking over Houston when they were 0-11 and taking them to four bowl games. It takes a unique coach to be able to lead that kind of a turnaround, and he’s got the makeup to do it. And he’s done it again at Baylor.”
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