According to Berry Tramel at NewsOk.com, Dave Bliss, whose name will truly live in infamy as Baylor Basketball's head coach before, during, and after the tragedy surrounding the death of Patrick Dennehy, will return to college basketball at the helm of NAIA Southwestern Christian University. Bliss, if you recall, not only cheated at both Baylor and SMU by paying players, but also reportedly instructed his players to tell people that Dennehy had actually been dealing drugs to make the money Bliss had given him. Then, when he found out that one of his assistant coaches, Abar Rouse, had taped their meetings, Bliss threatened to fire him unless he went along with the scheme.* This came out in the aftermath of Dennehy's murder by another of Bliss's players at Baylor, Carlton Dotson, who is serving a 35-year sentence and could be eligible for parole in 2021.
Just about everybody reading this blog knows those parts of the story or has heard them before (and if you don't, you can read more here), but did you know that even after he left Baylor with a 10-year show cause from the NCAA, Bliss was cited for cheating again in the high school ranks? In 2010, while employed by Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas, the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) slapped Bliss with a two-year suspension from coaching basketball for allegedly forging a signature on an athlete approval form. He also allegedly paid players there, too. In response, his Head of School at Allen Academy, whose last name is coincidentally Rouse (how many can there be?), withdrew the school from TAPPS so Bliss could keep coaching.
All that leads up to today's news, which came at the end of the end of Bliss' ten-year show cause. Apparently, instead of finding some young, deserving coach that could energize what I assume is a relatively small fanbase while demonstrating true leadership to his pupils, Southwestern Christian University has decided to hire Bliss, a man that may well have cheated every place he's ever been.
Listen, I understand the concept of forgiveness, particularly from a Christian school. If you haven't already, I urge you to forgive Bliss for the role he played in nearly destroying Baylor's Basketball program. At the same time, I honestly don't understand how anyone could think it appropriate to hire Dave Bliss, with everything he's done, to coach college basketball. How do you stand behind a podium, as whoever made the call at Southwest Christian will have to do, and say that he's the right guy to lead your program? How do you tell parents on the recruiting trail that this guy will make your sons better men?
Reaction from elsewhere:
Told the Dave Bliss news conference at Southwestern Christian University set for Wednesday at 3 p.m. I'm still speechless he got hired.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 6, 2015
Absolutely unbelievable that Dave Bliss can be a head coach again anywhere on college level. I’m losing hope for the human race by the day— Eric Bossi (@ebosshoops) April 6, 2015
True story: Since the Baylor tragedy/travesty, I have always rated CBB scandals on a scale of 1 to Dave Bliss— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) April 6, 2015
So Dave Bliss can get "redemption" and coach an NAIA school. Meanwhile, where is Abar Rouse after doing the right thing?— Jon Solomon (@JonSolomonCBS) April 6, 2015
If Dave Bliss can get back into coaching, what exactly would you have to do to be shut out forever?— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) April 6, 2015
Can you imagine being the guy who finished runner-up to Dave Bliss for that coaching job?— Sam Mellinger (@mellinger) April 6, 2015