The Florida State Seminoles have found their next offensive coordinator in Kendal Briles, the school announced Sunday.
Briles, who most recently was Houston’s offensive coordinator, is replacing Walt Bell, who took the head coaching position at UMass earlier this month.
Briles’ hire was long rumored, but it wasn’t announced until after the Cougars’ loss to Army Saturday in the Armed Forces Bowl. He inherits a team that finished 5-7 and in the bottom 15 among Football Bowl Subdivision schools in six different offensive categories.
Briles will also be the FSU quarterbacks coach.
“I’m excited about the addition of Kendal to our staff,” FSU coach Willie Taggart said in a news release. “He brings play-calling experience and familiarity with the type of scheme and tempo we will run, which is similar to the offenses he has coordinated. His ability to recruit, manage an offensive staff, develop quarterbacks and make in-game adjustments will be beneficial to us as we evolve in our offense.
“Kendal has success at the Power 5 level and has also shown his adaptability to personnel and situations that occur during a season. He had multiple opportunities following the 2018 season and we feel the fit here will be a good one.”
Briles announced his resignation after the Cougars fell 70-14 to the Black Knights, who tied the FBS record for largest margin of victory in a bowl game.
Despite the bumpy finish to the season, Briles had Houston’s offense operating as one of the top in the nation before dynamic starting quarterback D’Eriq King suffered a season-ending injury. The Cougars finished fourth in the FBS in scoring offense, sixth in total offense and 11th in yards per play.
“I am incredibly humbled by this opportunity and appreciate Coach Taggart’s trust in me,” Briles said in FSU’s news release. “I also appreciate him supporting my desire to finish this season at my alma mater by coaching in our bowl game yesterday. We both understand what this offense should be, and I have complete confidence in our ability to meet the goals he has for us. Sarah and I are excited to be part of Florida State and are looking forward to integrating ourselves within the Tallahassee and FSU communities.”
Briles thrived running an up-tempo spread offense, a style similar to the Gulf Coast Offense that Taggart is in the process of implementing at FSU.
While the move seems like a solid fit from a technical standpoint, it’s not without controversy.
Before his one-year stints at Houston and FAU, Briles was the offensive coordinator at Baylor, where he worked under his father, Art.
Art Briles was fired in 2016 after he was accused of mishandling a complaint stating one of his players was involved in violence against a woman. More details emerged and more women came forward about their claims of violence committed by football players that they said were not properly investigated. Seventeen women reported sexual or domestic assaults that involved 19 Baylor football players dating back to 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Baylor’s president, athletics director and the older Briles all were forced out amid the ensuing investigations that determined the athletics department urged campus authorities and local police to let the football program handle any criminal complaints involving football players internally.
Florida State has dealt with its own off-the-field issues and was the subject of a Title IX lawsuit after a woman alleged the school did not follow federal guidelines after she accused then-starting quarterback Jameis Winston of sexual assault. The school also was the subject of a Department of Education investigation into the way it handled sexual-assault claims.
Winston, who played for former FSU coach Jimbo Fisher, was never charged with a crime and a student code-of-conduct inquiry found he was not responsible for an assault.
More recently, offensive lineman Josh Ball was suspended in May after a student code-of-conduct committee determined he was responsible for engaging in dating violence against a female FSU student.
Despite the issues at Baylor, Briles has worked to show he could lead prolific offenses at FAU and Houston.
His move to Tallahassee comes after Briles signed a three-year $2.1 million contract with Houston earlier this month, according to the Houston Chronicle. The Chronicle also reported that as part of the contract, Briles would not owe a buyout if he were to resign and take a head coaching job after UH’s final 2019 regular-season game or the American Athletic Conference championship, should the Cougars earn a title-game bid. Resignation prior to that date would result in a buyout set at the discretion of the school’s athletics director.
Terms of Briles’ new contract with FSU and any buyout paid to Houston were not immediately released.