A Texas superintendent on Tuesday defended the decision to hire former college football head coach Art Briles to lead a high school football program.
Briles was given a two-year contract by Mount Vernon High School last week – his first coaching opportunity since he was fired by Baylor over his role in a sexual assault scandal at the school.
The hiring created a firestorm over the weekend, but Mount Vernon ISD Superintendent Jason McCullough said Briles was vetted before the hire, according to KWTX.
“We spent a lot of time talking to people who know Art very well, and who also were very familiar with the situations that were taking place at Baylor,” McCullough said. “We read through the reports, we looked at the findings...that it was not a football issue, that it was an organizational issue for Baylor itself, and we believe that Art was a man who, unfortunately, was caused to take the fall for that.”
McCullough said he received a letter from Baylor’s general counsel that described the Baylor sexual assault scandal as a university issue and not a football issue, before Briles was fired. McCullough alsos said he received a letter from former Baylor coach Grant Teaff.
WFFA’s Alex Rozier asked McCullough whether the school district spoke to the victims at Baylor or the NCAA. McCullough said no to both.
McCullough added that he knew the decision to hire Briles would be controversial but stood by it.
“I understand that we'll be one of the most highly scrutinized districts this coming year,” he said. “But I also believe that coach Briles is going to earn the trust of our community every day by his actions, by his words, and by his deeds, and our athletes will benefit from his time with us.”
Since he was fired at Baylor, Briles had a cup of coffee with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League in 2017. The team ended up rescinding the offer.
Briles currently serves as the head coach for Estra Guelfi Firenze American Football Team in Italy.
Fox News’ David Aaro contributed to this report.