BY RUSSELL HUFFMAN
Former Stephenville High School and Baylor University football coach Art Briles has a new job more than two years after being fired while being paid out his entire contract.
Briles will begin coaching Guelfi Firenze American Football team in Florence, Italy this fall. In August of last year, Briles had a “one-day job” with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but social media outrage caused the team to let him go just one day later.
In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Briles was quoted as saying.
“I’m a football coach and it’s all I’ve ever done and all I’ve ever really had a passion to do; this gives me a chance to be on the field and between the lines. (This is) a situation where I can build a team over there and it’s inspiring to me. … It’s a situation where I can stay active this fall as a coach and as a person be involved in the game. Who knows what the future holds? It’s a golden opportunity for me to get on the field and be involved. I’m jacked about it.”
The contract is flexible and allows for Briles to return to the United States should a job opportunity arise.
For readers of author John Grisham visions of “Playing for Pizza” have to come to mind as a former third-string and bust NFL quarterback named Rick Dockery ventures to Italy to play for the Parma Panthers.
Dockery at first hates his league and dreams of nothing but getting another shot at the NFL all while being hounded by a beat sports writer with an ax to grind. We won’t spoil the ending for you, but let’s say it ends up being a success story with lots of satisfaction for not a whole lot of money.
But there is free pizza after every game.
Briles is reported to have been paid $6.2 million in 2015 by Baylor and was said to have been paid more than $15 million in severance pay following his firing.
While no financial terms have been announced, Briles won’t be making anywhere near what he made coaching at the NCAA level. His new team’s website recently posted news about its “crowdsource funding” that raised just over 6,000 Euros. The team’s Facebook page currently had 4,855 on Thursday. Gameday tickets run about $10.23 in U.S. dollars.
Coaching in Italy won’t be about money for Briles as much as is about merely doing what he loves. It may also serve as a path back to coaching closer to home.