With Baylor University in the midst of a historic football season, head coach Art Briles was given a 10-year contract extension.
The long-term contract was approved Wednesday night by the school’s board of regents.
“Art Briles and Baylor are a wonderful fit,” Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw said. “We are grateful for his long-term commitment and desire to lead Baylor football forward for many years to come. Baylor Nation is indebted to Coach Briles for his vision, passion and dedication to rebuilding Baylor football and turning it into a destination job.”
Baylor doesn’t reveal salary figures because of its status as a private university. But the contract extension is a result of the success Briles has produced in six seasons at Baylor and the team’s rise to a Big 12 and national championship contender this season.
Briles, 57, is the first coach in school history to lead the Bears, ranked No. 5 in the Bowl Championship Series standings, to an 8-0 start. Baylor is No. 4 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls for its highest ranking since reaching No. 3 in the AP poll in 1953.
“It’s just very humbling and I feel very blessed for our staff that Baylor is taking the move to secure us here for a long period of time,” Briles said. “It’s a great marriage and we’re proud to represent one of the finest universities in the nation.”
With four regular season games remaining, Baylor is in contention for its first Big 12 championship with a 5-0 conference record. The University of Texas is the only team that stands ahead of Baylor with a 6-0 Big 12 record.
The Bears face Texas Tech University on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington before playing Oklahoma State University on Nov. 23 and Texas Christian University on Nov. 30, both on the road.
They wrap up the regular season Dec. 7 at home against Texas in the final game at Floyd Casey Stadium.
The Bears have played in a school-record three straight bowl games under Briles, and are bowl-eligible for the fourth straight season. Briles’ high-powered offense leads the nation in scoring and the Baylor defense leads the Big 12.
Baylor’s success this season has the program on track to break the school’s single-season attendance record.
“To his credit, over the past six years Coach Briles has built Baylor football into a destination job,” McCaw said. “Coach Briles, his staff and the student-athletes are accomplishing a measure of success that is earning national respect in the college football world.”
Not only are the Bears having great success on the field, they’ll move into their new $260 million on-campus stadium on the Brazos River in 2014. The new stadium already has boosted Baylor’s recruiting as the Bears are set to sign a top 25 national class in February.
“It has done so much for Waco and Central Texas, and has changed the perception of this area in the state of Texas,” Briles said. “When you drive down I-35, you see the stadium, and it’s a huge benefit.”
Before Briles’ arrival from the University of Houston in November 2007, the Bears hadn’t reached a bowl game since the 1994 Alamo Bowl and hadn’t produced a winning season since their final year in the Southwest Conference in 1995.
Following 4-8 records in Briles’ first two years, Baylor snapped its bowl drought in 2010 when it finished 7-5 in the regular season. The Bears dropped a 38-14 decision to the University of Illinois in the 2010 Texas Bowl.
Led by Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, the Bears finished 10-3 in 2011 and pulled off a 67-56 win against the University of Washington in the Alamo Bowl. Baylor followed with an 8-5 season in 2012 that was capped by a 49-26 win against the University of California at Los Angeles in the Holiday Bowl.
“The program’s success under Coach Briles has repositioned the Baylor brand nationally and internationally,” McCaw said.
“We are grateful for the vision and leadership of the board of regents and President (Ken) Starr to build an outstanding football program at Baylor.”