The coordinator of the league’s leading offense and controversial figure Kendal Briles is going to Houston. It is even more controversial than FAU’s hire.
Major Applewhite says he vetted Briles, according the Houston Cronicle’s Jenny Creech and Joseph Duarte:
Applewhite said UH vetted both coaches.
“Throughout this process we have researched their abilities and backgrounds with several references and have received glowing praise,” Applewhite said in the statement.
This isn’t about his bloodline. It’s about a coach who is named in a pending lawsuit, has broken NCAA recruiting rules and has been questionable through his actions and social media practices in the past.
Much of the same was said when Lane Kiffin hired Briles back in 2017. From the Ben Baby story in the Dallas Morning News:
He turned to Briles, who steered the nation’s top offense in 2015. When it came to “the other stuff,” Kiffin said the university felt secure with the hire and vetted Briles, but he didn’t go into specifics since the inquiries were made by FAU’s administration.
“Our athletic director [Pat Chun] and our people went through an extensive process with that,” Kiffin said.
Sure sounds familiar, no? FAU and Lane Kiffin did the dirty work of cleaning up the Kid Briles reputation and allowing a Houston to scoop him up. If anything, it highlights the hierarchy: Houston is a better gig than FAU.
There are other factors involved in coaching, as The Athletic’s Chris Vannini highlighted recently ($). Briles is a Houston alumnus and went to HS in Texas so this is also a coming-home thing. Boca is nice, but it isn’t Houston and the ceiling is a bit higher at Houston than it is at FAU for now.
If you want to call this a referendum on FAU and the league’s standing you can. The FAU program got a league championship and numerous offensive records out of Briles, and he got a reputation cleansing (he likely was not getting a job any where else) and a ticket back home. Everyone is a winner.
Everyone includes the rest of the league, as the architect of a ridiculous offense is no longer running the show. FAU will likely hire another guru or promote from within, but add this to the factors that could slow a repeat campaign.