Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
By Charlotte Carroll
February 06, 2019

Southern Miss said former Baylor coach Art Briles is not a candidate for any position with their football program, the school announced Wednesday in a statement. 

"We have met with Art Briles regarding a position with the Southern Miss football program. Following that meeting, we informed him that he is not a candidate. The University will have no further comment on this matter."

The Sun Herald's Patrick Magee reported Monday that Briles had interviewed for the program's offensive coordinator position. Sports Talk Mississippi's Richard Cross then reported Briles was introduced to the team at an unofficial meeting Monday night.

Head coach Jay Hopson released a statement following the deicision, saying it was the decision of university president Rodney Bennett to not hire Briles. Reports of Briles's hiring at Southern Miss sparked intense backlash as Baylor fired the former coach in May 2016 following an investigation into the football program. 

"Although I respect the decision of Dr. Rodney Bennett, I disagree with it," Hopson said in his statement. “I am so grateful for the grace and forgiveness God gives me which allows me to inherit his kingdom, which I do not deserve. I have interviewed Art Briles for an assistant position at Southern Miss and I believe he is a man who deserves a second chance. He is a man that seemed sincere and humble in his interview and personally he committed no crime. He may not have acted in the proper protocol, but that would be my JOB at Southern Miss! He was interviewing for an assistant position, even though I believe he will be a head coach at a major program in the near future. However, I believe he is a man who does love the Lord and deserves a second chance. He has been banned from employment in college football for three years and has been punished. I understand both sides have opinions, this is just mine."

The Baylor investigation found that football coaches failed to take disciplinary action against several players accused of rape despite being aware of the allegations. The massive scandal and the ensuing review led to the departures of university president Kenneth Starr and athletic director Ian McCaw.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League hired Briles in 2017, but he was later fired. Briles was then hired as head coach of Estra Guelfi Firenze, an American football team based in Florence, Italy, last August.

At Baylor, Briles went 65–37 record and won two Big 12 titles.

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