Baylor will hire former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe to lead its football program this season on an interim basis, according to multiple reports.
Baylor is scrambling to replace Art Briles, who was let go last week after the release of a report commissioned by the school that accused the successful coach of not responding to or inappropriately handling allegations of sexual assault and violence by members of his team over the last few years.
Grobe, 64, has been out of coaching the last two years. He spent 13 seasons with Wake Forest, leading the school to some of its best seasons. Grobe was 77-82 overall with Wake, including an Atlantic Coast Conference title and Orange Bowl appearance in 2006. The Demon Deacons went to five bowl games under Grobe, half the school’s overall total.
Grobe resigned after the 2013 season, his fifth straight at Wake Forest that ended with a losing record.
ESPN reported that Baylor also considered former San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary, a former Baylor All-American linebacker, for the job.
This is a difficult time of the year to hire a football coach, especially at a university wracked by scandal reaching the president’s office.
There was speculation and unconfirmed reports following the move to dismiss Briles that Baylor would promote defensive coordinator Phil Bennett to interim coach. Instead, the university beset with uncertainty after also demoting president Kenneth Starr and putting athletic director Ian McCaw on probation, decided to go outside the program for at least a temporary solution.
It is still unclear how much of the current staff will remain at Baylor for the upcoming season. Briles’s son, Kendal, is Baylor’s offensive coordinator and Briles’ son-in-law, Jeff Lebby, is running backs coach.
While the report by the Pepper Hamilton law firm did not give details and specific names of other coaches involved in wrongdoing, the fact finding did state that staff members spoke directly to potential victims of sexual and violent crimes, discouraged them from reporting allegations and withheld information about allegations against football players from the university.
Art Briles was suspended with the intent to terminate. He was two years into a 10-year contract that paid more than $4 million annually. In eight seasons at Baylor, Briles had turned the Bears into a Big 12 powerhouse after they languished at the bottom of the conference since joining in 1996.
Grobe is one of the more highly respected coaches in the major college sports, known for his humility and candor.
Before taking over at Wake in 2001, he coached Ohio University for six years. In 1995 he took over a program that had not won more than four games in a single season the previous 12 years.