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FAU’s List of Potential Coaching Candidates: Kendal Briles

Kendal Briles has a lot of baggage, but that hasn’t deterred him from rising in the coaching ranks.

Florida Atlantic v Wisconsin Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

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Career Path: Kendal Briles started his coaching career by joining his father Art Briles as a position coach for the Houston Cougars in the mid-2000s. Once Art Briles moved to Baylor as their new head coach in 2008, Kendal followed suit. At Baylor is where Kendal’s coaching chops began to grow as he served as their passing game coordinator and offensive recruiting coordinator. During his time in Waco the Bears ran one of the most influential offenses in football history as Art Briles’ Veer and Shoot offense lit up the scoreboard with ease from 2010-2015. It was presumed that Kendal was being groomed to be Baylor’s next head coach once Art Briles decided to call it quits.

Of course, Briles would be removed from Baylor at the height of its success due to one of the biggest scandals in sports history. After the 2016 season where Kendal Briles was let go by Baylor after one year as the offensive coordinator, Briles was in a state of limbo as the stain of the sexual assault scandal could not be detached from his name. Schools were not willing to risk their reputation to bring him aboard fresh off of what took place in Waco. Despite that stigma, FAU head coach Lane Kiffin took a chance and hired Kendal Briles to serve as the Owls new offensive coordinator in 2017 anyway. The hire proved to be a huge success on the field as Briles’ Veer and Shoot offense under Lane Kiffin’s vision dominated Conference USA as they broke a ton of records to the tune of a school-best 11 wins and a C-USA Championship.

Briles would parlay this success immediately as he would leave to become the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Houston in 2018. His time at Houston was a success as Briles’ offense averaged 43.9 points per game and helped foster another star in D’Eriq King. However, Briles’ time back home was short-lived as he would resign in December with head coach Major Applewhite getting fired. Briles was back on the market but this time with suitors and would eventually land in Tallahassee as Florida State head coach Willie Taggart brought him in to fix their offense as its new offensive coordinator. Unfortunately, FSU’s offensive line issues were not in shape for a quick fix as the Noles struggled from a consistency standpoint. FSU averaged 29 points per game, a far cry from what any of Briles’ offenses produced at Houston and FAU. For the second straight year, the head coach who brought in Briles would be fired as Florida State and Willie Taggart parted ways in the middle of this year’s season.

Buzz Surrounding The Hire: Due to Kendal Briles’ actions in the Baylor scandal, and his decision making shortly after to support his dad during the controversy, there will never not be a link to Kendal and what took place in Waco. Houston was shamed for bringing him back to the state, a bevy of talking heads were disappointed he got a chance to be FAU’s offensive coordinator to begin with. Kendal will forever be a lightning rod for scorn and disdain wherever he goes. Fair or not.

What’s There To Like: His offenses produce points in bunches. Devin Singletary solidified himself as the best player in school history in 2017 when Briles was the offensive coordinator. His familiarity with the program is a given and being that he spent another year in the state at FSU, he should have a solid grasp on what it’s like to recruit in Florida.

Why They Should Proceed With Caution: You can read this. You can check out FSU fans’ response to them hiring Briles. Or you can check out sexual assault survivor Brenda Tracy’s tweets regarding Kendal Bries.

Why He Would Take The Job: It could very likely be the only chance he’ll ever become a head coach in the immediate future.

Analysis: When Willie Taggart decided to bring Kendal Bries to Tallahassee it wreaked of desperation. When Major Applewhite decided to bring Kendal Briles to Houston it wreaked of desperation. When Lane Kiffin decided to bring Kendal Briles to Boca Raton it wreaked of defiance AND desperation.

The FAU head coaching position is not the job it was in 2017 when they went with what one could consider a win by any means necessary approach to the football program. Relevance has been achieved. Championships have been won. Players have come through, received their degrees, and have made NFL rosters. FAU is no longer a place with undiscovered potential. FAU is now a desired destination where coaches can see that their head coaching career can flourish.

There’s no need to go dumpster diving for a coach with a reputation such as Kendal Briles’. Let another school risk their reputation by having Briles as the face of not only your football program, but your university. Because that’s what hiring Briles as the head coach would result in. Do you want to listen to him dodge questions about what happened at Baylor in his introduction presser? Do you want to listen to him promise that what happened in Waco won’t happen in Boca?

Briles is a good offensive coordinator, but there are plenty of good offensive coordinators who are young, hungry, and without the baggage that Briles would bring. FAU would get shredded by the media if they were to make him the head coach. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be for long. The outrage that comes with hiring a coach tied to scandals gets worn over time. The outrage will come and go, and then we’ll wait and see if Briles is a success. The media eventually forgetting Briles being the head coach at FAU is about the only saving grace if he’s the next head coach. On a scale of 1-10 this hire would be a 1.

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