For a program surrounded by chaos, Baylor is making a very shrewd hire in tabbing Jim Grobe as its new head football coach.
The school on Monday announced that the former Wake Forest head coach has been named the acting head coach in Waco after Art Briles was fired last week in the wake of a sexual assault scandal. An introductory press conferrence is expected Friday. The Grobe hiring was first reported by 247 Sports.
We don’t yet know what will happen to the rest of the Bears coaching staff, but an extensive house cleaning is in order. Sources have told FOX Sports to expect more firings in the athletic department over the coming weeks as Baylor continues to sort out the findings from Pepper Hamilton, the Philadelphia law firm it hired last September to conduct an investigation.
There was some discussion inside the athletic department after Briles was let go about possibly naming Phil Bennett as interim head coach, a source told FOX, but as we reported a few days ago it was no lock that the Bears’ defensive coordinator wouldn’t also be implicated in the scandal. Beyond that, it was a stretch to think Baylor could talk about going forward while trotting out Bennett, a holdover from a regime at the center of one of the ugliest scandals in college sports, to be the face of the program as the media continued to cover a top-20 team going through a very turbulent season. Recruiting for the 2017 class already has been falling apart.
Baylor needed a stabilizing force. The first two available names who came to my mind were former Texas coach Mack Brown and Baylor legend Mike Singletary. To be honest, Grobe is probably an even better fit. According to a source, Baylor actually tried to hire Grobe to be its head coach about 15 years ago.
Like Brown and Singletary, Grobe doesn’t have any connection to the Bears’ wildly successful offensive scheme, but this guy knows how to run a clean program. Right now, this is a place that desperately needs strong leadership. The 64-year-old Grobe once won an ACC title at Wake Forest, just the school’s second ACC title ever. He led the Demon Deacons to five bowl games in 13 seasons despite having arguably the fewest resources in the conference.
From a character standpoint, Grobe is as good as it gets. The guy was the chairman of the AFCA Ethics Committee and should know full well what he’s getting into since he’s tight with Grant Teaff, the godfather of Baylor football. Singletary had coached but only in the NFL, not at the college level. Brown is folksy and charming, but to many around Texas he will always be seen as UT’s old coach.
Will Grobe be able to help patch up recruiting? Probably not. This is going to be seen as a short-term deal, but right now Baylor needed stability first and foremost, and it got that.