Dave Bliss Is Given a Second Chance to Coach Basketball in Texas
Dave Bliss is a former College Basketball Coach that spent some time at Oklahoma, Southern Methodist University, and the University of New Mexico. However, he is probably best known for his stint at Baylor and he’s not known for what he did to elevate the school’s basketball program like he was able to do in previous stops. Instead he is known for the being responsible for the black cloud that had hovered over Baylor University up until recently. Instead of wins and losses and a pretty good coaching record, Bliss is most known for being at the epicenter of the Baylor University Basketball scandal.
During his time at Baylor, one of his player’s Patrick Dennehy was murdered by his teammate Carlton Dotson. This in itself was a terrible tragedy and a tragedy that continues to hang over the Baylor program. However, his issues that he brought on the school didn’t stop there. During his time with the Bears, Bliss broke numerous NCAA rules and because of that he was suspended by the NCAA for ten years and will not be eligible to return to coaching college basketball until 2015. When you combine this with evidence that Bliss may have engaged in extortion, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice, which he has never been charged for, it’s highly unlikely that he will ever return to college coaching. However, just a few days ago Bliss was a given a second chance in life by a Texas high school, Allen Academy, which is the state’s oldest private school that sits less than 100 miles from Baylor.Dave Bliss joined KILT in Houston with Rich and Robert to talk about his new opportunity, how he has been received at his new job based on everything in his past, and whether or not he thinks he can get back into coaching at the college level.
On how he got the job at Allen Academy:
“We’ve had our ministry in Kyle, Texas for the last couple of years and it’s called Game Plan ministries. To take you back a little bit, when I came back to Texas in 2008 to speak at the Final Four in San Antonio, I came down there and spoke to 500 coaches and it was a terrific experience. We have a granddaughter that was born about the same time and we knew we weren’t going to be too far from her and we landed in Kyle. For the last two years what I’ve been doing is going around the state, Houston included, and spending a lot of time with high school coaches and we’ll talk basketball, we’ll talk life, and a bunch of that. A bunch of parents got together the other day in our town when the basketball coach from the high school has resigned and they suggested that I go down there and apply for it. Being as I’ve had most of the kids at camp at one time or another I went down there, but because I wasn’t certified in the particular area I needed, I wasn’t able to apply for it. My wife and I decided it might be neat if we returned to to what we were comfortable doing. So what I did is I went up to Taps at Burleson, who is the head of Taps, the director has been a good friend over the years because we’ve had so many of his events up there on the Baylor campus. We looked around and I saw the position of the Athletic Director, Dean of Students, and basketball coach was open down here. So I came down to offer to kill three birds with one stone and a couple of weeks later I had the job. I’m really grateful for their confidence, I’ve been on the job for three days, the parents are just as tough as they’ve ever been, but we’re excited about trying to help young people.”
On the regrettable circumstances at Baylor in 2003:
“I think because of the situation regarding the unfortunate murder, there were a lot of things that didn’t come to light that I think would’ve changed the issues involved, but again I’m most grateful at this job here that I probably would not have gotten this job if it hadn’t been for the help of Robert Sloan, who is the President now of Houston Baptist, but he was my President at Baylor. Rather than dispute anything, I’m grateful for the opportunity. Because of situations that have occurred, we’ve taken the high road on stuff. I know it’s forever indelibly etched because of Terrence (Harris) referring to it, but I think the committee that I talk to here, the board that I eventually answered to, and the people that I used as my references were able to set the record straight justifiably so that I was able to get the job. The media as it is sometimes exacerbates things and I understand that completely and that’s why I’m not upset because they do what they’ve been let to do. But if that were completely true, I guarantee I would not have this job.”
On whether or not parents have had concerns about him taking over:
“Again, I think it’s been well chronicled, it’s tough to be in complete control of all your players. I had no part in that aspect of it. The part I think that you think underscore is I think many of their questions have been eased by the fact that the committee and the board has delved into all that and they trust the people that run the Prep School and all that. I’m like you, I would want my board and my committees to check all that out and I think because of the participation of Dr. Sloan and others, I think they found out the correct answers and I look forward to serving this school. The parents and kids I hope will really enjoy the athletic program and we have a great academic program. Any school that I’ve ever gone to work at that’s the thing that I’ve always tried to have is a great academic program because when you have that as a start you can really develop the athletic program.”
On some of the things that people have heard on the tapes being indisputable:
“There’s no doubt that that’s a very low moment for me, but I think by virtue of the period seven years since and that sort of thing, there’s a lot of moments that we do things because of panic situations and I would certainly include a murder to be a panic situation that you’re not especially proud of. But I also know that tomorrow is going to be another day and anything that goes a little bit a thunder today I have to answer to tomorrow, but I can also rectify it. All I can do is do the things that I have been taught to do. I really feel I can add to this particular school. My experiences with young kids are vast. I think I know a great deal about dealing with parents, I think I’m very comfortable with providing an athletic program that the academic people will be proud of. I’m really looking forward to this and I think the school does itself.”