It’s not uncommon for coaches who have been involved in scandals to get a second chance in sports. Bruce Pearl was slapped with a three-year show-cause penalty by the NCAA for recruiting violations (and lying about them) while at Tennessee, only to be tapped by Auburn last year. After he unfairly hired his mistress and continually lied to his boss about her, Bobby Petrino was fired from Arkansas, and he’s now the head football coach at Louisville.
But how about a coach who told his players to portray their dead teammate as a drug dealer to conceal the coach’s own rule-breaking? It’s not every day that the man with that reputation gets another college gig. But that’s what Dave Bliss did at Baylor in 2003, and on Monday, he was named the new basketball coach at Southwestern Christian University in Bethany, Okla.
Bliss has admitted he made improper tuition payments for Baylor players Patrick Dennehy and Corey Herring, and after Dennehy was murdered by Baylor teammate Carlton Dotson, Bliss was recorded telling players to portray Dennehy as a drug dealer as a way to hide Bliss’s infractions. Since 2010, Bliss has been the coach and athletic director at Allen Academy in Bryan, Tex., but the Southwestern Christian University job will be his first back in college basketball.
Bliss has a book coming out next month, “Fall to Grace,” in which he discusses the scandal at Baylor and his journey to forgiveness since. He’ll likely have a lot of explaining to do to get through some awkward recruiting conversations with parents.