WACO, Texas (KWTX) A former Baylor assistant football coach who lost his job when head coach Art Briles was fired following the scathing Pepper Hamilton investigation into the school's response to sexual assaults, has taken on a new role, off the field.
Former Baylor safeties coach Cris Dishman says after being turned down by every NFL and college team to which he sent his resume over the last 11 months, he's shifted his focus to the issue which cost him his job--sexual assault.
Dishman is now holding seminars and making speeches at high schools and colleges around the country educating young men about what he calls an epidemic.
"I think the coach’s voice is one of the strongest voices around," Dishman said Tuesday.
"From a coach’s voice, people tend to listen."
Dishman, a former all-pro NFL player who spent the majority of his career as a Houston Oiler, came to Baylor in 2015, right around the time the Pepper Hamilton law firm started investigating a scandal sparked by the sexual assault conviction of former football player Sam Ukwuachu, whose conviction has since been overturned.
Dishman was never interviewed by the investigating law firm and has never been named in lawsuit surrounding the scandal.
But during the tumultuous season in which Dishman and Baylor assistants coached under interim head coach Jim Grobe, he did attach his name to a tweet defending Briles’s response to an alleged gang rape.
Critics of Dishman's new journey say he can’t support both Briles and victims of assault.
But in an earlier interview with Baylor 247 sports, Dishman said he's still waiting for all the facts to be revealed.
“I’m like everybody else in that I've read everything that there is out there, but that doesn't mean it's right," Dishman told the website.
"Do you believe everything you read? Because I don't. What are the facts behind it?"
Dishman echoed that support during his interview with KWTX.
"Coach Briles, Ian MCCaw, the Board of Regents at Baylor, they gave me the opportunity to coach at a Power 5 conference and he believed in me. Coach Phil Bennett believed in me," Dishman told KWTX.
"So I'm always going to be a friend to coach Briles. I'm never going to turn my back on coach Briles. I'm not going to denounce coach Briles. "
Dishman is calling the program he’s presenting "Project LEAP," standing for "Leaders in Education Advocating for Protection."
His talk is called "Sexual Assault in Athletics: A coach’s perspective."
He says he's already spoken at a few high schools and colleges since launching the initiative last month and while prepared for some backlash, he says he has no plans to stop.
"For me to sit here and answer tweets about the negative energy, it's taken away from having something positive. It's taken away from me fighting for the victims. It's taken away from me having some kind of awareness out there for saying sexual abuse is wrong. Stop it."
"I've learned a lot. I've spoken to victims. I've spoken to attackers. I've spoken to people who were accused and got off. I've learned so much it's incredible. And that's what's keeping my journey going."