Why Houston Cougar fans should be comfortable with hiring of Kendal Briles

Kendal Briles
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

Houston hired Kendal Briles as associate head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Saturday; the school also hired Randy Clements as offensive line coach and run game coordinator.

Both are former Baylor assistants under Art Briles, a name that’s toxic in the college football world for obvious reasons.

Many Houston supporters are concerned that the hires are sending the wrong message, that message being that winning is the only thing that matters at UH.

The Cougars’ athletics programs are at an important stage. The school is trying to put itself in the best possible light for the next round of conference expansion in the hopes of being invited into one of the Power Five conferences. Depending on who you talk to, Houston getting into the Big 12 was a legit possibility last year.

We all just witnessed what happens to an undefeated Group of Five program: UCF barely registered a blip on the radar as a legitimate playoff contender.

As far as “wrong messages go,” I would almost agree with the naysayers as Kendal Briles was part of the vileness that occurred. He was quoted as trying to recruit black athletes to Waco by asking if they “liked white women because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players.”

As for on-field results, Briles was the offensive coordinator at FAU this season, when the Owls were eighth nationally in scoring offense (40.6 points per game) and ninth nationally in total offense (498.4 yards per game). He learned a lot about offense under his father and Lane Kiffin. He also played at UH from 2003-05 as a wide receiver.

That university chancellor Renu Khator and athletic director Chris Pezman vetted the hire is what sways me to the side of being comfortable with it as a long-time Cougars fan.

“Every hire in our athletics department, from the top to bottom, is an important one, and we vet every candidate for employment in our department,” Pezman said. “We have done our research on the backgrounds of both Kendal and Randy, and Coach (Major) Applewhite has been in close contact with myself and our university leadership providing all necessary information and to gain approval.”

Houston was 7-5 this season, Applewhite’s first as coach.

“Throughout this process we have researched their abilities and backgrounds with several references and have received glowing praise,” Applewhite said in the statement.

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