Art Briles returns to coach Italy’s Firenze Guelfi

Italy’s Firenze Guelfi of Florence have found their coach for 2022, bringing back former Baylor University (NCAA Div.1) head coach Art Briles. Briles coached the Guelfi in 2019 and team president Alessandro Dallai is thrilled to have the accomplished coach back on their sideline:

“We are very happy we have been able to bring Coach Briles back to Florence, we still have a goal to achieve, and his signing is the first piece to build the future of the team, with only one goal in mind: win the championship” 

Briles, 66, brings decades of college football experience to the Guelfi. The Rule, Texas native has spent nearly his entire life playing and coaching football in Texas’s talent-rich football community. After playing receiver for Texas Tech (NCAA D1), Briles dove right into coaching as part of Texas’s competitive high school football ranks. he quickly climbed the coaching ladder becoming head coach of 2A Hamlin High School, then Georgetown High School, and eventually 4A Stephenville. At Stephenville, Briles amassed four state titles and a 135–29–2 record.

After his success at the high school level, Briles returned to his Alma Mater coaching running backs at Texas Tech. In 2003, Briles was hired as the head coach at the University of Houston (NCAA D1). There he took over a struggling Cougars program that went 0-11 just two years prior. During his five years in Houston, Briles won the 2006 Conference-USA coach of the year, one conference championship, and finished with a 34-28 record.

The following year, the Texan was hired at Baylor University (NCAA D1). As the head coach for the Bears, Briles racked up a 65-37 record, with two Big 12 Championships, one Associated Press coach of the year award (2013), and three bowl wins. During his tenure in Waco, Briles coached five consensuses All-Americans, several NFL draft picks, and 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.

However, Briles career at Baylor ended abruptly as a 2016 sexual assault scandal within the Baylor Football team eventually led to the resignation of Briles and many university administrators. The next year Briles was hired by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League before public backlash led the team to rescind their offer.

In his one season with the Guelfi, Briles and former Baylor player Silas Nacita led the team to an 8-3 record and a championship game appearance. Since the summer of 2019, Briles has returned to his roots as the head coach of the Mount Vernon Tigers, a high school team in East Texas, coaching them to a 20-6 record with two playoff appearances.

The former NCAA coach of the year has already been building his team in Florence as the Guelfi have been busy this off-season. Along with the signing of the Texas football veteran, several former Div. 1 talents have signed for the 2022 season including South Alabama record-breaking tailback Xavier Johnson, former South Eastern standout Dejion Lynch, and Dartmouth quarterback and H-back Jared Gerbino. The American imports join domestic stars such as Italian quarterback Andrea Fimiani and defender Lorenzo Dalle Piagge are also gearing up for the upcoming Italian Football League season.

Read a 2019 AFI interview with Art Briles

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football