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Daily Bears Report 12/10

Do the root causes of the scandal still exist at Baylor? Grant Teaff approves David Wetzel hire. Jalen Pitre makes it official.

NCAA Football: Baylor at West Virginia
We’re gonna build.
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Our Daily Bears Fan Post Review

It finally feels like Baylor is moving out from under the shadow of What Happened. The football season, constantly tainted by the previous year's revelations, recriminations, and in-fighting, is essentially over. Kim Mulkey's team is laying waste as usual. Scott Drew's team is laying waste in ways even the most optimistic Baylor fan could not have expected. We have a new football coach who appears to be an amazing fit for the university in ways that go beyond hoped-for success on the field. Lawsuits aside, things are looking up.

But in the midst of basketball success, the euphoria of Coach/Reverend Rhule, and the deep yearning to move on from one of the most painful sagas in Baylor's history, we as students and alumni must not move on from the lessons it has to teach us. Regardless of how much blame one lays at the feet of Coach Briles, the Board of Regents, or the administration, it is clear that Baylor had deep flaws in its system of dealing with allegations of rape. Young women were victimized by their fellow students, and received no help, in some cases reporting actual hindrance and persecution from the university. On the flip side, at least one young man was cleared by the Title IX process and was still punished by the university, stripping him of his scholarship and effectively destroying his prospects at other schools, and thereby his future. And while many of these cases involved the Athletics Department and particularly the football program, it is painfully clear that the problem was and is larger than the Athletics program, encompassing the entire university. Indeed, it is likely that the root causes of these flaws still exist at Baylor.

  • Another famous OBF quote: “I rec’d CPech’s post. You should to.”

Baylor Athletics Update

Jalen Pitre and Baylor Make it Official

  • While every other 2017 Baylor commitment bailed after Art Briles was fired in May, one player stuck to his word.Stafford defensive back Jalen Pitre made it official Friday when he signed a financial aid contract with Baylor. From BearsExtra.

Pitre plans to enroll at Baylor in January and is looking forward to playing under new coach Matt Rhule.

“The way the other players describe him and the emotions they are showing seems like a good vibe at Baylor,” said Pitre, who is making his official visit to Baylor this weekend. “I think he’s going to turn things around. God helped me out a lot and worked with me, and I feel blessed to be here and thankful I can play college football at Baylor.”

  • A four-year letter winner at Stafford High School, Pitre has totaled 83 tackles, six interceptions and four forced fumbles in the 2016 regular season. From Baylor Bears dot com.

The senior’s Stafford team advanced to the Texas High School Class 4A Division 1 regional finals and ended the season with a 10-4 record. Pitre has scored touchdowns this season by interception and punt return. He was voted as the District 12-4A Newcomer of the Year in 2014 and has totaled 204 tackles for his career.

Rated as a three-star safety on Rivals, 247Sports, ESPN and Scout, Pitre is ranked as high as the 59th prospect in the state by Rivals and the No. 10 safety by Scout.

Baylor will now play in a bowl game for the seventh consecutive season, facing Boise State on Dec. 27 in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl in Phoenix, Ariz.

Sic ‘em Bears

Grant Teaff Approves David Wetzel Hire

  • Grant Teaff praises new Baylor Head Football Coach Matt Rhule’s hire of David Wetzel. From BearsExtra.

“He’s a perfect fit for Baylor as a graduate and highly respected high school football coach,” Teaff said. “You don’t get to be president of the Texas High School Football Coaches Association without being highly qualified. He loves Baylor and always has, and he’s very excited about the opportunity to work with Matt and help restore the things that have been lost in the last few months.”

Wetzel expects to play a major role in Baylor recruiting and is looking forward to getting started. The Bears only have one commitment in their 2017 class with national signing day less than two months away. Stafford defensive back Jalen Pitre signed a financial aid contract with Baylor on Friday and will enroll in January.

“We haven’t defined if I’ll be coaching offense or defense,” Wetzel said. “But it will be an important role and I’m excited about embarking on a new challenge. We’re going to put a staff together and hit recruiting as hard as we can.”

Wetzel has been the head coach at San Antonio Reagan since 2004, and led the team to its fourth straight undefeated district championship this season.

“I’m fired up, excited,” Wetzel said. “It’s certainly hard to leave Reagan, but I talked to the kids I coached this morning and everybody understands. Given the opportunity, it’s really a unique deal. I feel like it’s God’s timing for me to be in the right place at the right time.”

The 47-year-old Wetzel is a Baylor graduate who lettered for former coach Grant Teaff as a wide receiver in 1990-91. He’s a Goldthwaite native who has also has been a head coach at Austin Hyde Park Baptist and Killeen Ellison.

Rhule announced the first five members of his new Baylor staff on Friday. Joining Wetzel are four members of Rhule’s former Temple Owls staff, including defensive backs coach Francis Brown, linebackers coach Mike Siravo, director of player personnel Evan Cooper, and Sean Padden who will serve as Baylor’s director of football operations.

  • Four of the five – Brown, Cooper, Padden and Siravo – are following Rhule from his staff at Temple University, where they led the Owls to back-to-back 10-win seasons and the 2016 AAC Championship. From Baylor Bears dot com.

Wetzel, president of the Texas High School Football Coaches Association, joins Baylor after 25 seasons coaching high school in the state.

Wetzel’s hiring represents a homecoming for the 1991 Baylor graduate (also earned master’s degree in 1994). He joins his alma mater after 13 seasons (2004-2016) as head coach and athletic coordinator at Ronald Reagan High School in San Antonio. He served as the president of the Texas High School Football Coaches Association at the time of his hiring. Wetzel led RHS to undefeated district football championships in each of his last four seasons.

Prior to Reagan, Wetzel spent four seasons (2000-2003) as head coach at Killeen (Texas) High School. He was head coach/A.D. at Hyde Park Baptist High School in Austin in 1998 and 1999. He began his coaching career as an assistant at CE Ellison High School in Killeen from 1992 to 1997. Wetzel lettered two seasons at receiver for Baylor in 1990 and 1991 under legendary head coach Grant Teaff. He and his wife Shana are the parents of three boys, Garren, Skyler and Chase.

Padden spent the last four seasons at Temple under Rhule serving in a similar role, the last two as Associate AD/Chief of Staff. He spent eight years coaching at the collegiate level at Fordham, Columbia, Albany and Albright (where he worked with Rhule in 1998). He also has experience coaching at the high school level. Padden lettered three seasons at Catholic University.

Two members of Rhule’s defensive staff at Temple, which boasted the nation’s No. 3 defense in FBS this regular season (allowed just 275.9 total yards per game) join him in Waco in Brown and Siravo.

Brown coached defensive backs for the Owls for four seasons under Rhule, and was on staff for two seasons prior under head coach Steve Addazio. He coached the cornerbacks, including multiple-year All-AAC honorees Sean Chandler and Tavon Young.

Prior to joining Temple, Brown coached at Paul VI High School in New Jersey, and spent time as a trainer at Nexxt Level Sports. He is a former All-SoCon cornerback and team captain at Western Carolina, where Rhule was on the coaching staff. Brown spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals following his graduation. He and wife Teara are the parents of two sons, Francis Jr. and Brayden.

Siravo spent five total seasons at Temple, the last four under Rhule as well as the 2006 season with then-head coach Al Golden. He coached linebackers for the Owls, and served as defensive run coordinator and recruiting coordinator during the AAC Championship season in 2016. At TU, Siravo coached two-time All-American and 2015 Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy winner Tyler Matakevich, who also won AAC Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Prior to joining Rhule’s staff at Temple, Siravo coached six years (2007-2012) at Boston College as defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator. He coached linebackers and served as recruiting coordinator at Columbia from 2003 to 2005. Siravo began his career as a graduate assistant at Boston College from 1998 to 2000. He was a two-year letterman at linebacker at B.C. under head coaches Dan Henning and Tom O’Brien. He and his wife Alison are the parents of three children, William, Evelyn and Henry Michael.

Cooper spent four seasons on Rhule’s staff at Temple, his final two serving as director of player personnel. He previously served as director of external operations and as a defensive graduate assistant. He had a brief off-season stint at Miami under then-head coach Golden.

He began his career as a defensive backs coach at Westminster Academy in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. A four-year letterman at Temple, Cooper played defensive back for head coaches Bobby Wallace and Golden.