IRVING, Texas -- When it seemed the Big 12 Conference was on the verge of collapse, with Texas leading the charge into an envisioned 16-team Pac-10, Baylor coach Art Briles and the Bears faced the real possibility of being separated from its Texas rivalries and deep Texas roots, left to fend for itself and quite possibly outside of college football's power conference structure.
Only a few months earlier, Briles had the opportunity to leave Baylor behind and take over at his alma mater Texas Tech. For about 10 days this summer as the Big 12 wobbled and wheezed, it seemed as though Briles should have jumped ship when he could and sailed safely into the Pac-10.
At Monday's first day of Big 12 Media Days, Briles was asked by ESPNDallas.com how he handled the nerve-rattling prospect of Baylor being left out. What followed was a two-minute, 15-second uninterrupted response that could go down as one of the great rallying cries of Texas football, straight from a native Texan, raised in small-town Rule, the son of a Texas high school football coach who became a Texas high school coach.
Here is Briles' response in its full glory:
"I tell you, honestly, how I handled all that was I just blocked everything out. I said what I'm going to do is be very passionate about my job, be very thankful for the job that I have and then whatever happens at the end of the day, we're going to make it right and we're going to make it work. Sometimes you operate on faith that the right thing is going to happen and the right thing happened, not only for Baylor; if there was a soap box down here I might get up on it, but I try not be that guy, but I will be right now because I'm proud.
"Being a Texas high school native, my dad was a high school coach, playing high school football in Texas, playing college football in Texas, coaching in Texas all my life -- and I don't ever plan on crossing the state lines coaching anywhere else -- I was proud that the people in control, the four or five people in control -- because there wasn't a bunch, and that's what everybody's got to understand; we all had thoughts and scenarios, but it didn't matter, there were four or five people that made this decision -- and I was proud that they did the right thing for the people in the state of Texas and the southwest part of the United States because we know how to play football down here. We've been doing it a long time and we've been doing it right a long time and we don't need to jump a fence and go show somebody else that this is how we play football in Texas. We'll open our gates and if people want to come here and show us how they play, that's fine. But, we don't need to be running off and running away because we got a good thing going and I'm proud those people saw that."