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Friday, May 7, 2010
Dave Bliss is back in the building

By Eamonn Brennan

If you thought Dave Bliss' actions at Baylor in 2003 would have kept him out of coaching forever, you were wrong.

Quite the contrary, in fact. Seven years after Bliss resigned from Baylor amid allegations of player payments and his attempt to posthumously frame murdered player Patrick Dennehy as a drug dealer in order to conceal those payments, Bliss is returning to coaching. Allen Academy, Texas' oldest college preparatory school, announced Friday that Bliss would be taking over as dean of students, athletic director and boys basketball coach at the school. Bold choice, Allen Academy. Bold choice.

Dave Bliss
The NCAA sanctioned Dave Bliss with a 10-year "show-cause" penalty in 2005, all but ending his college career.
Bliss has done his best to rehabilitate his image in the past year. The most crucial and public moment came when Bliss gave a sermon at a suburban Dallas church in July of 2009, in which he admitted that he "was worse than" all of the rightfully negative things people said about him following his disgraceful behavior at Baylor. Bliss said he "shamed" his family and "blasphemed" his faith. The congregation gave him a standing ovation.

It's hard not to be cynical about someone who behaved so cynically himself, but Bliss seemed sincere in that sermon, and he seems sincere today:
“Having gone through what I went through, some people would think you would miss the money and the fame of Division I coaching,” Bliss said during an on-campus interview Friday. “But the part that I really missed was being around young people and being around my players and being on a campus in an educational setting, because that’s all I’ve known for most of my life."

Would I want to be the first person to give Dave Bliss a job again? No. Would I have hired him to be dean of students at a prep school? Uh, no. But seven years have passed, and it was probably only a matter of time until Bliss was able to work again. Someone was bound to hire him. Now it's up to the man himself to make sure Allen Academy -- not to mention anyone who decides to believe Bliss can redeem himself; anyone who convinces himself that even the sleaziest of college basketball coaches is not beyond redemption -- doesn't regret the decision.