It’s a decision that is making news across America.
The East Texas town of Mount Vernon announced Friday it has hired Art Briles as its next head football coach. He is currently coaching in Italy.
In 2015, Briles was fired by Baylor University for his handling of accusations of sexual assaults involving football players.
Briles led Baylor football for seven years. But after he was fired, one lawsuit alleged that during four of those years, there were 52 acts of rape, five of them gang rapes, involving at least 31 players.
Brenda Tracy is a sexual assault survivor. In 1998 she was gang-raped by four college football players. She says the Briles hire is sending the wrong message.
“I think this hire states clearly that the board who voted him in cares more about winning than sexual assault on campus,” Tracy said. “The overarching message is that the survivors at Baylor don’t matter. Sexual assault is not that big of a deal. Rape is not that big of a deal. And if you are a winning coach you can always bounce back.”
The school announced Briles' hire late Friday, just before the holiday weekend, in a press release.
In a video posted to the school district’s Facebook page, the superintendent welcomed Briles, who Skyped into the meeting from Italy.
“Coach, it is my great honor to let you know that I recommended you to be our next football coach for the Mount Vernon ISD Tigers," said Superintendent Jason McCullough in the video. "Our board approved that vote 7-0 so you are highly supported and we are looking forward to you being a Tiger."
In the press release McCullough had more to say about the decision to hire Briles:
“We are pleased to welcome Coach Briles back home to Texas. He brings with him a wealth of not only football experience but also life experience. He is passionate about investing in the lives of young people and helping them to succeed both on the field and in life. After a thorough due diligence process and several earnest conversations, we believe our students will benefit greatly from his skills and experience,” McCullough said.
Tracy said she wants the district to change their mind.
“I want them to rescind their offer and I want Art Briles to take his millions of dollars that Baylor gave him and I want him to retire,” Tracy said.
“When I saw it was a high school I was shocked," she said. "I couldn’t believe that a high school would even thinking about bringing him in. He doesn’t deserve a second chance to coach football. There are some things that you just don’t come back from and this is one of them.”