— A coach who, after one of those players was murdered by a teammate, ordered his players and assistant coaches to portray the murder victim as a drug dealer to explain how he got the money for tuition.
— A coach who flew to the home of the other illegally funded player in an attempt to persuade that player’s mother to lie about where the tuition money came from.
— A coach who pretended to be that player’s father in a phone call to the school’s financial aid office, which was made to determine what evidence the school had against the coach.
Dave Bliss did all of those things during his time at Baylor, which led to his resignation in August 2003 and to severe NCAA penalties: Along with a long probation and scholarship reductions, the Bears were prohibited from playing nonconference games in 2005-06. Bliss, for his part, was given a 10-year show-cause penalty, which effectively ended his NCAA career because no member school would dare hire someone with such a punishment attached to his name.
But that didn’t stop a Christian high school in Las Vegas from hiring the 73-year-old Bliss to be its boys’ basketball coach and athletic director.
“There’s a great documentary he’s put out there on his testimony, and that is the one thing everybody needs to see right now. That he’s a man of Christ,” September Wilson, a coach and teacher at Cavalry Chapel Christian School, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in confirming that the school had hired Bliss.
Ah yes, the documentary. Earlier this year, Showtime aired “Disgraced,” which chronicled the Baylor scandal. In the film, Bliss repeated his assertion that Patrick Dennehy — the Baylor player who was murdered by teammate Carlton Dotson in 2003 — was a drug dealer, even though no evidence has surfaced to support that claim.
“He was the worst,” Bliss said in the film.
Southwestern Christian University, the NAIA college where Bliss had coached since 2015, announced his resignation just a couple of days later.
“He sees himself as a victim,” Pat Kondelis, the director of “Disgraced,” told the Houston Press. “There’s some truth to what Dave says. Every coach cheats. That’s something that he told me many times. ‘I didn’t do anything differently than what any of these coaches do on a daily basis but for the coverup.’ Dave went way farther than anybody really has, and this became the biggest scandal in college basketball history. But Dave doesn’t take any responsibility for what happened. He still does not.”