HAMILTON, Ontario — Less than 11 hours after the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL announced the hiring of former Baylor coach Art Briles by tweeting a news release celebrating his stellar college record, the league and the team backtracked in the face of public pressure and said he will not be joining the team as an assistant after all.
“Art Briles will no longer be joining the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as a coach,” read a statement release Monday night from the CFL and Tiger-Cats.
“We came to this decision this evening following a lengthy discussion between the league and the Hamilton organization. We wish Mr. Briles all the best in his future endeavours.”
The 61-year-old Briles was fired in May 2016 by Baylor after an investigation by a law firm found that over several years the school mishandled numerous sexual assault allegations, including some against football players. The Pepper Hamilton review also led to the departures of Baylor University President Kenneth Starr and athletic director Ian McCaw.
Baylor has already settled at least two Title IX lawsuits against the school, and earlier this month reached a deal with former student Jasmin Hernandez, the first of several women to file federal Title IX lawsuits against the world’s largest Baptist university. Briles had been removed as a defendant in Hernandez’s lawsuit.
The school previously settled with three women who hadn’t sued.
The Big 12 Conference is withholding revenue from the school until an independent audit shows the university is implementing dozens of reforms recommended by Pepper Hamilton.
Briles has acknowledged making mistakes and apologized for some “bad things that went on under my watch.” He has also pushed back against some accusations made against him and his program in lawsuits and made clear that he wanted to return to coaching.
New Tiger-Cats coach June Jones, promoted last week from offensive assistant after the team got off to an 0-8 start, was ready to give Briles that chance. The two have a relationship that goes back years and their college coaching careers in Texas overlapped. Jones was at SMU in Dallas during the time Briles was head coach at Baylor in Waco, Texas.