When Texas Class 3A school Mount Vernon (Texas) High School announced that Art Briles would serve as the school’s next football coach, the decision was met with shock and scorn from many corners of the American sports landscape.
Prior to Mount Vernon’s move to hire Briles, he had racked up a 96-65 career collegiate mark, thanks to highly successful spells at Baylor and, before that, Houston. Yet his stay at Baylor was tarnished by a massive sexual abuse scandal, leading to his eventual departure. His presence was considered so radioactive that he then failed to land jobs as an offensive coordinator both collegiately and in the Canadian Football League. The only position Briles could land was one in Italy.
That was apparently enough to keep Briles on the radar when Mount Vernon came calling, which led to his apperance on the Mount Vernon sideline Friday night. Once there, he allegedly felt very comfortable, leading to Mount Vernon’s 44-16 season-opening route of Bonham (Texas) High School.
“Y’all don’t want to believe it,” Briles told the media after the game, “but I just want to coach football.
“I didn’t notice anything different from what [Bonham head] coach [John] Fish got over on his sideline. It just seemed like a good high school game. Fans were excited on both sides of the ball cheering their teams on. Honestly I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.”
That’s good news for Briles, and for the hopes that the 2019 season will unfold as expected at a pocket of smaller schools in East Texas. On Friday, the rumors of protests never came to fruition, and while major media was on site, the relative normalcy of a season-opening victory brought visions of even more ordinary Friday nights in the future.
Particularly those that end with a Mount Vernon victory.