One year ago today coach Art Briles was fired at Baylor, and the university started down the long, long road of rebuilding its image. Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach at ESPN took a look at how far the school has come in the last year and it is clear that new head coach Matt Rhule is leading the way when it comes to changing the culture in Waco.
“I think one thing I’ll say — and I feel very passionately about this — is so often football coaches say, ‘Of course, I’m against rape. I have two young girls.’ To me, it’s not just the fact that I have girls in my life is why I don’t believe in rape,” coach Rhule told ESPN. “When you communicate like that with football players or any young people, they begin, in my mind, to differentiate between women they know and love and women who they don’t know, and then they don’t place any value on them.
“We talk about what it means to be a man, and a major part of that is not just how to treat your mom, but how to treat all women, the way to be respectful to all women, how to look at women, how to speak to women and how to treat women each and every day.”
Coach Rhule is right on the money. Something as heinous as rape doesn’t need a qualifying factor as to why you are against it. It shouldn’t take having a mother, grandmother, a sister or a daughter for someone to know that sexual assault is wrong.
This is a guy that gets it, and he isn’t going to let his players think it is acceptable either. He reportedly texts players nearly once a week reminding them to be respectful to women and to make sure they are doing the right things off the field.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone that has been following Rhule’s tenure at Baylor, either. When we spoke with 2017 defensive back Trevon Lewis, he made it clear that his primary reason for committing to Baylor was because coach Rhule emphasized doing things the right way. That resonated with Lewis because that is how he was raised.
Baylor is not going to be able to turn their image around over night. In fact, the more we hear about Briles’ tenure, the worse it gets. It will be a long road, and some may never forgive. However, with coach Rhule at the helm, the rebuilding process is well under way.