WACO, Texas -- Baylor's head football coach Art Briles got a vote of confidence this week when the school's board of regents decided to give him a new contract to coach the football team through 2023.
“Art's very loyal to Baylor, and Baylor is doing ever thing they can to support him,” said Baylor Athletic Director Ian McCaw.
Briles has the Bears on a record run of 12 straight wins and has emerged as a national championship contender with a No. 5 BCS ranking.
Texas Rangers co-owner Bob Simpson is a supporter of the program.
“We got involved a few years ago and have supported Art ever since he came,” Simpson said. “I've always believed in him. There were days when it was as obvious, but I always believed in the man.”
Briles is getting help from his staff, including former SMU head coach Phil Bennett, who is the defensive coordinator.
“I thought Bryce Petty said it the best, 'Everyone mentions, Baylor but...' right after Baylor, there is always a 'but,'” Bennett said. “We're not a tradition, but we're also someone who's going to be here a while. Baylor is committed with a stadium and the kids we're recruiting, we're not going away.”
Baylor’s new $250-million stadium opens next fall. Last week, Baylor defeated Oklahoma for the second time in three seasons. Now with four games to go, their games are getting bigger and bigger.
“You know, they're all going to be at this level,” Briles said. “I don't know how it can much bigger. We'll see. We play everything as a 60-minute game and we're not looking at the big picture, we're trying to take care of each possession and each play.”
And the coaching staff is inspiring confidence among its players.
“They know how to prepare for a game and tell us exactly what they want us to do and how they see it, and paint that picture for us and we can go and execute it right now,” said Baylor defensive end Chris McAllister.
So this weekend, Briles and the Baylor Bears will try to stay on track toward a Big 12 championship and maintain their status as a BCS contender when the play Texas Tech at AT&T stadium on Saturday.