In a move that's sure to draw controversy, Florida State on Sunday officially announced the hiring of Houston offensive coordinator Kendal Briles to that same position.
Briles' resignation at Houston was announced following the Cougars' 70-14 loss to Army Saturday in the Armed Forces Bowl.
"I'm excited about the addition of Kendal to our staff," FSU coach Willie Taggart said in a statement. "He brings play-calling experience and familiarity with the type of scheme and tempo we will run, which is similar to the offenses he has coordinated. His ability to recruit, manage an offensive staff, develop quarterbacks and make in-game adjustments will be beneficial to us as we evolve in our offense. Kendal has success at the Power 5 level and has also shown his adaptability to personnel and situations that occur during a season. He had multiple opportunities following the 2018 season and we feel the fit here will be a good one."
Briles is a bright offensive mind but also has ties to one of the biggest scandals in recent college football history.
The 36-year-old son of former Baylor coach Art Briles was on his dad's staff during its sexual assault scandal. By Baylor's count, 19 players were accused of committing sexual or domestic assaults. One of the Title IX lawsuits filed against the university counted at least 31 players involved in 52 "acts of rape" from 2011-14.
Baylor, a private university, has not specified the roles of assistant coaches in the scandal. But one lawsuit, filed by Colorado attorney John Clune, describes a "show 'em a good time" culture around recruiting and directly implicates Briles.
While recruiting one Dallas-area prospect, the suit alleges, Briles asked: "Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor, and they love football players."
He was also suspended for Bears' 2015 season opener for violating NCAA recruiting rules.
Briles' ties to the Baylor scandal slowed his professional rise. In 2015, Briles was the Bears' offensive coordinator and led the nation in scoring offense (48.1 points per game). He was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the country's top assistant coach.
He stayed on staff the next season, after his father was fired for his handling of the accusations against his players.
Briles coordinated the nation's No. 8 scoring offense (40.6 points per game) on Lane Kiffin's Florida Atlantic staff in 2017. He spent this season as Houston's offensive coordinator; his Cougars averaged 46.4 points per game (No. 4 nationally) through the regular season. Briles' quarterback, D'Eriq King, was responsible for 50 touchdowns (third in the nation), despite missing Houston's regular-season finale with an injury.
"I am incredibly humbled by this opportunity and appreciate Coach Taggart's trust in me," Briles said in a statement. "I also appreciate him supporting my desire to finish this season at my alma mater by coaching in our bowl game yesterday. We both understand what this offense should be, and I have complete confidence in our ability to meet the goals he has for us. Sarah and I are excited to be part of Florida State and are looking forward to integrating ourselves within the Tallahassee and FSU communities."
Sunday's news comes after the Seminoles finished a disappointing 5-7 season in coach Willie Taggart's first year. FSU's scoring average (21.9 points per game) was its worst since 1981.
Taggart's Seminoles scored 30 points only three times last year; Briles' Cougars did it in every game.
Briles will replace Walt Bell, who was announced as UMass' new head coach on Dec. 3. Bell's departure was a key reason why FSU lost out on four-star quarterback recruit Sam Howell, who flipped to North Carolina on the first day of the early signing period.
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