WACO, Texas – Acting Baylor football coach Jim Grobe said winning is important but won’t come at the expense of character and integrity.
The former Wake Forest coach is taking over a program reeling from a report that determined school leadership inappropriately handled allegations of sexual violence made by students, some against football players.
Grobe said Friday that there will be no tolerance for egregious acts such as sexual assault and bullying.
“Baylor’s priorities are being realigned to ensure that they are in order. The No. 1 priority here is to make sure all students live in a safe and caring environment,” Grobe said. “We have a fantastic group of guys who are extremely saddened by what has happened. We are deeply regretful that the actions of a few can hurt so many.”
The 64-year-old Grobe, who had been out of coaching since after the 2013 season, said he felt led to be at Baylor after being contacted by former Bears coach Grant Teaff, whom before Art Briles won two Big 12 titles had been part of the program’s most successful seasons.
Briles was fired last week in the wake of the report, and athletic director Ian McCaw resigned Monday, the same day Grobe was announced as the acting coach. Ken Starr was demoted from president of the school to chancellor, a position he has since resigned while remaining as a law professor.
The rest of the coaching staff, including Briles’ son and son-in-law, is intact and Grobe said he isn’t planning to make any changes – though he has been given authority to do so. Kendal Briles is the Bears’ offensive coordinator.
Grobe said there are no indications of any issues or problems stemming from the report that would affect the remaining coaches.
“Going forward, I couldn’t predict, but I think right now things are pretty stable,” he said.
Along with getting acquainted with the assistant coaches and the current players, Grobe is reaching out to recruits who signed letters of intent with Baylor in spring but have not enrolled at the university and indicated their desire to be released from those commitments. He wants to meet with the players and their parents.
“Obviously, we have some parents and kids who are concerned,” Grobe said. “I want to meet with all the players and parents involved and try to convince them that Baylor is still a great place to be.”
Grobe said he didn’t know how long that process would take but that Baylor would follow guidelines by the NCAA. There is an appeals process for any signee who is not released by the school from his letter of intent.
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