The Briles Effect

On Wednesday, we traveled over to Waco for Baylor University’s Pro Day, an annual celebration of the Pro Prospects about to make the jump to the NFL. It’s a more like a homecoming game as numerous alums return back to campus to experience the day and be back home. The stage was set for WR Corey Coleman, DT Andrew Billings and others, but the standard was established by guys like Kendall Wright, Terrance Williams and many more. Those two, amongst others, were on hand to watch Coleman and 15 others go through a lengthy Pro Day workout.

The entire scene had me thinking about the impact of Art Briles on the program at Baylor. The former legendary Stephenville, TX HS coach took over the program in 2008 and changed the fortunes of the program. The on-campus facilities are gorgeous and some of the best in college football.

That doesn’t happen without Briles and the success of the program.

McLane Stadium was opened in 2014 as the gem on the Brazos River.

That doesn’t happen without Briles and the success of the program.

I had a conversation with Jesse Clark, the Texans social media guru, and I was giving him a short history lesson on Baylor football. Jesse, being in his 20s from the state of Wisconsin, knows only great Badger football from the University of Wisconsin, but in the 1980s and 1990s, the Badgers were a moribund program in the B1G. Then, Barry Alvarez showed up and the program took off.

“That’s what happened after Art took over here, Jesse,” I noted.

How have things changed in Waco?

In 1996, the Bears moved into the Big 12. From that year until Briles took over, the Bears won 35 games. That would be 35 wins in 12 seasons.

Briles has won 65 games in eight seasons and has 57 wins in the last six seasons.

From the 1997 NFL Draft until the 2008 NFL Draft, the Bears had a total of nine players drafted and no first round selections (12 total drafts).

Briles has had 20 selected since the 2009 NFL Draft (Eight total drafts). Furthermore, he had five first rounders in that same time frame. Throw in potential first rounders Corey Coleman and Andrew Billings and that would be seven first rounders in fewer years.

The Bears won nine conference games from 1996 until 2007.

Briles’ Bears won eight conference games…in a year…twice in a row, in 2013 and 2014.

The Bears hadn’t won ten or more games since 1980.

Briles’ Bears have won ten or more four out of the last five seasons.

Before Briles took over, the Bears hadn’t won a bowl game since 1992.

The Bears have won three bowl games in the last five years.

Briles held court with the media on Wednesday, lording over the empire he’s built in Waco. Pro Day was seemingly just a celebration of what’s been built since he arrived in 2008.

By: John Harris

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