MOUNT VERNON, Texas (KWTX) The Mount Vernon School Board met Monday evening for the first time since the district in northeast Texas announced that it had hired former Baylor head football coach Art Briles to coach its 3A high school team.
The hiring was not on the agenda, but the board started its meeting with a public discussion period to give anyone with an opinion a chance to speak out.
Only three people did, two of whom spoke in support of Briles, including former Baylor Board of Regents Chairman Gale Galloway, who famously offered a $10,000 reward in 2016 to anyone who had information about the “true reason” for Briles’ termination in May 2016 following the Pepper Hamilton law firm’s scathing report on the school’s handling of sexual assaults.
Galloway says he hired a private investigator to look into the scandal that rocked the university and said the PI found no evidence of a cover-up or mishandling of sexual assault complaints by Briles.
Galloway praised the school district for hiring “the best coach in the United States” and a man he called honorable and good.
Galloway told board members they need to look no further than a little publicized 2014 consultant study, completed two years before Pepper Hamilton was hired, that was critical of Baylor University’s failure to comply with federal policies and laws, many designed to protect co-eds from sexual abuse.
Galloway says the Margolis Healy Title IX Review and Clery Act Compliance Assessment showed the problems were campus-wide and proved that the school later tried to shift the blame to the football program, damaging Briles’ reputation in the process.
Galloway told the crowd he was speaking the truth, held a Bible up and said if he was not “God could strike him down.”
One district resident also spoke in support of Briles, but another was critical of the decision to hire him, saying she would remember the board’s decision the next time members of the came up for election.
She told the crowd of about 70 that “integrity matters over a couple of winning seasons of football.”
The board then went into executive session.
Briles remains in Italy finishing up the post season play of a team he’s coaching in Florence.
He’s expected to arrive in Mount Vernon this summer.