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There's a new sheriff, er, Bailiff in town....

David Bailiff, former Texas State Coach,  named 18th head football coach at Rice
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ALL SMILES. Rice Athletice Director Chris Del Conte welcomes the new man on board (Mark Anderson photo)


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"I'm not a 2 to 6 football coach, I'm an around the clock football coach"

 

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"I need to be part of the team and I look forward to it. You're going to see us at volleyball games and basketball games and on campus and at different events all over campus. I may be the football coach, but we're going to be everywhere"

 

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"Hopefully it's going to be an offense where you better get your extra point team ready because we're going to put it up in the air a lot"

 

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"I feel good now that I've got a program there that has good young men that are going to compete for championships and graduate. I'm a man of my word and I feel like I kept my word there. I would not have had a good feeling leaving after two years"

 

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"I love the Rice mission, the academic mission. It has not changed since the inception of the school. What a great student athlete to go after. That's one of the reasons I wanted this job"

 

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"We need everybody's help to keep the momentum going. That momentum got started by one man, but it's going to take all of us to keep this rolling"

(Photos by Mark Anderson)

HOUSTON (Jan. 19) – Stating emphatically that ‘my job is to continue the momentum,’ former Texas State University head coach David Bailiff was introduced Friday before gathered news media and hundred or so alumni, staff and student athletes, as the 18th head football coach in the history of Rice University.

The announcement and introuction by Rice Athletic Director Chris Del Conte topped off a franticly-paced week of activity by the AD and a hastily convened search committee that included the likes of Brett Wagner, Bucky Allshouse, Carl Isgren , Billy Hale, Gary Ferguson, Walter McReynolds, John Huff and two current Owl players, Chase Clement and Brian Raines.

Rice senior Trustee and committee member told us the search committee was was immediately impressed by the multi-faceted attributes of the new Rice coach – and that his interview made the choice of new coaches an easy decision.

"We actually had a stronger pool of candidates than we had last year," he told us. "We were every impressed with a number of the candidates that came in the first day, but when David came in the second day, he just blew us away. We loved him instantly; he said the right things. Everything we checked about him was just superb, and there was no doubt about him after that one meeting."

The 48-year-old father of three spent the last three seasons as the head coach at Texas State University in San Marcos, where he posted a 21-15 record while leading the Bobcats to their first Southland Conference championship and the semifinals of the NCAA Division 1AA playoffs in 2005.

The new Rice mentor said he was contacted in regard to the Rice job last year, but did not seriously pursue it. "I had not fulfilled my obligation of what I told the president at Texas State that I would do, and I would not have felt good about leaving," he recalled.

"I feel good now that I've got a program there that has good young men that are going to compete for championships and graduate. I'm a man of my word and I feel like I kept my word there. I would not have had a good feeling leaving after two years."

New coach upped classroom performance considerably at Texas State

In his past two seasons at Texas State, Bailiff produced standouts both on the field and in the classroom. He produced both the Southland Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year in 2005 (Barrick Nealy and Fred Evans) and the league's Student Athlete of the Year for football in 2006 (Walter Musgrove). Overall, he produced a total of 14 All Southland Conference first team selections, and 13 players who were named to the academic all conference squad in his last two years.

His inclination to stress the academic side of his student-athletes’ development made the Rice job a particularly attractice choice, Coach Bailiff said.

"I wanted this job because I did the research, too, and we (at Rice) have a great president who cares about the student athletes. We have an energetic athletic director who's leading this athletic department. I want to be a part of that. I want to be a part of graduating players and winning championships."

The new man added he hopes to have an impact on his players long-term well-being. "I'm not a 2 to 6 football coach, I'm an around the clock football coach," he remarked.

" I'm going to be there for these young men 24 hours a day. If they need me, I will be there for him. Every man that works for me will be an impact person, not just a football coach. Nobody is coming here just to be a football coach. We're coming here to make an impact in these young men. One of the things that I'm proudest of at Texas State we had a top graduation rate of public schools, a 75% graduation rate. We led the Southland in all-academic picks, we led the nation in all-COSIDA picks, and that's what makes this a great fit for me. I believe in the Rice way."  

While his own background has been as a defensive coach, Bailiff's squads have led the league in total offense in each of the last two seasons. Ow fans can expect a greater emphasis to be placed on the defensive side of the ball on South Main, as well.

:On defense, we're going to run a 4-2-5 – which is what I'm comfortable with," Coach Bailiff said. "I know that we’ll probably have to recruit to it some and slowly evolve to that. That's what we did at New Mexico, that's what we did at TCU, that's what we did at Texas State."

"And we'll put a heavy, heavy priority on special teams. You win close ballgames by playing great special teams."

Faced with a rebuilding season after his 2005 Southland title, Bailiff's 2006 Bobcats closed with a rush, winning four of their last six and wrapping up with a 28-21 win at Sam Houston State. That victory knocked the Bearkats out of contention for the league title and gave the Bobcats their first win in Huntsville since 2000.

Offensively, it's the spread -- period

Throughout, Coach Bailiff’s staff stuck with the spread as the basis of their offensive scheme, and that won’t change, no that he’s taken his act to the Institute.

"Offensively, we're going to stay with the spread offense," he revealed. "If you look at the quarterback, Chaseand what they've done here – that's what we've done at Texas State, and that's what we're going to do here. Hopefully it's going to be an offense where you better get your extra point team ready because we're going to put it up in the air a lot."

But what was said to have impressed the search committee perhaps as much as anything was the outreach and community-development orientation of this disciple of former State and TCU coach Jim Wacker.

For the past two summers, Bailiff and the Bobcats made a point of getting out in the community to meet with area business leaders and personally deliver schedule posters for the coming seasons. Beyond that, team members were involved in projects throughout the community from making appearances at San Marcos elementary schools' Citizenship Days to lending a hand for Habitat for Humanity projects. The Bobcats also took time way from preseason drills each season and helped students move in to the dorms.

Thanks to these efforts, Texas State set school record for total attendance as well as attendance average during the 2005 season and then bettered that mark in 2006.

He admitted that the environment and culture around San Marcos would appear to be somewhat different than that with which he is faced inside the hedges, but insisted that his philosophy is an excellent for Rice’s culture and values.

"I love the Rice mission, the academic mission," he said. "It has not changed since the inception of the school. What a great student athlete to go after. That's one of the reasons I wanted this job."

He also likened the Rice situation to that he embraced while an assistant and later defensive coordinator at TCU, likening both private schools’ environment to that of an extended family.

"TCU is a family, like the Rice family," he said (Editor’s note: Well, perhaps – but with more girls than boys, not as pretty a house, less homework, and a considerably different set of family values...) "When you pull up here, it even resembles TCU with the stadium and the housing and the people."

Time out. We don’t suggest you hit too hard on this TCU analogy, Dave. They’re considered arrogant deserters in these quarters.

"Operating at a small university it's important for everybody to be part of the team," Coach Bailiff went. "I need to be part of the team and I look forward to it. You're going to see us at volleyball games and basketball games and on campus and at different events all over campus. I may be the football coach, but we're going to be everywhere."

"You that are in this Rice family, I'm going to count on you all to accelerate my learning here," he added. "We need everybody's help to keep the momentum going. That momentum got started by one man, but it's going to take all of us to keep this rolling. We need to continue to get people to jump on with us and get out in the community and keep this momentum growing. I'm excited to be here. Let's go to work. Let's all do it for each other. Let's have a blast working hard and winning a lot of football games and graduating these young men."

--Paul T. Hlavinka
   Webletter Editor

 

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