Jim Grobe came out of semiretirement to help Baylor get through a tumultuous season. After that is done, he has no plans to coach again.
Grobe said Monday that he told new Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades early in the season that he didn’t want to be a candidate to be the full-time coach. That conversation came a month into the season when the Bears were still undefeated, and before their current five-game losing streak.
“Honestly, football needs a fresh start,” Grobe said the start of his weekly news conference on the Waco campus. “I’m very, very proud of our players who have remained loyal to Baylor. They’ve given me 100-plus reasons for hope in these difficult times.”
The 64-year-old Grobe had been out of coaching for two seasons when last May he accepted the role as Baylor’s acting head coach. He said he committed then through January, which would include being part of the Bears’ bowl game, and now expects to be retired and playing golf after that.
Despite some rocky times , Grobe says he has no regrets about taking over when Baylor suddenly dismissed two-time Big 12 champion coach Art Briles after a report alleging that the university mishandled complaints of sexual assault.
“I’ve not ever had the mindset that I was doing more than helping out,” Grobe said earlier on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. “It’s been a little more challenging than I expected. … The thing that I have found that I expected to find is a lot of really good kids. That’s what we’ve got to stay focused on. Those are the guys that have probably been hurt the most.”
Baylor’s search for a new coach likely will intensify this week since many schools have already completed their regular seasons.
The Bears (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) play their regular-season finale Saturday at 14th-ranked West Virginia (9-2, 6-2), which is Grobe’s home state.
Even though Baylor has lost five in a row since starting 6-0 to get bowl eligible, any suggestions of the school turning down a bowl berth seem moot. The Big 12 has seven bowl slots to fill and will have only six bowl-eligible teams, including the Bears.
Baylor’s skid started with a 35-34 loss at Texas, which came after a group of Baylor regents first provided some details about some of the allegations against Briles in a Wall Street Journal article.
A week later, the Bears suffered their worst home loss since 2005. They lost 62-22 to TCU a day after assistant coaches and several staff members issued a statement on Twitter expressing their support for Briles and disputing claims by regents that the former coach knew of an alleged gang rape.
All the assistants were retained from Briles’ staff. They included the former coach’s son, offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, and his son-in-law, running backs coach Jeff Lebby.
“We got through the first six games pretty well, and for a couple of weeks lost some focus, some things in the press and our coaches were upset, that in turn upsets the players,” Grobe said. “We’ve really played hard the last few weeks. We just haven’t played well enough to win.”
This is Grobe’s 20th season as a head coach at the FBS level, having previous led Wake Forest (2001-13) and Ohio (1995-2000).
When he initially got to Baylor , he said he had missed coaching and didn’t discount the idea of being there longer. But even as the Bears got off to a good start in September, he quickly informed Rhoades — who started at the school in mid-August — that he had no intention of staying past this season.
“I wanted him to know early on that no matter how the season turned out — it has nothing to do with anything that’s happened over the past five games — that I was not a candidate,” Grobe said. “That I was here to help for a season and that Id’ be out of here and he needed to start his search and be focused on finding the next best guy for Baylor.”
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