- Associated Press - Friday, June 3, 2016

WACO, Texas (AP) - Jim Grobe was enjoying the days living on the lake with his wife. After a call from an old friend, he felt compelled to help Baylor in its recovery.

While he certainly wants to win with the Bears, their acting coach understands his charge is even bigger than that.

“Baylor’s priorities are being realigned to ensure that they are in order. The No. 1 priority here is to make sure all students live in a safe and caring environment,” Grobe said Friday. “We have a fantastic group of guys who are extremely saddened by what has happened. We are deeply regretful that the actions of a few can hurt so many.”

The 64-year-old former Wake Forest coach is taking over a Bears program and a university reeling from a report that determined school leadership inappropriately handled allegations of sexual violence made by students, some against football players. Two former players were convicted of sexual assault.

Grobe had been out of coaching since after the 2013 season when he was contacted by former Bears coach Grant Teaff, who before Art Briles won two Big 12 titles had been part of the program’s most successful seasons.

Briles was fired last week in the wake of the report, and athletic director Ian McCaw resigned Monday, the same day Grobe was announced as the acting coach. Ken Starr was demoted from president of the school to chancellor, a position he has since resigned while remaining as a law professor.

Grobe said winning won’t come at the expense of character and integrity, and that there will be no tolerance for egregious acts such as sexual assault and bullying.

“Playing is not a right, going on the field is not a right,” Grobe said. “And if you’re not a good citizen, you’re not going to play football for Baylor. That’s the bottom line.”

The coaching staff is still intact, including Briles’ son and son-in-law, and Grobe said he isn’t planning to make any changes - though he has been given authority to do so. Kendal Briles is the Bears’ offensive coordinator.

Grobe said there are no indications now of any issues or problems stemming from the report that would affect the remaining coaches.

“Going forward, I couldn’t predict, but I think right now things are pretty stable,” he said.

A 13-page summary of the report released by Baylor’s board of regents found that school administrators discouraged students from reporting sexual assault allegations and fostered a culture that the football program was above the rules.

“I’m so proud of to be part of a renewed committed to doing things the right way,” Grobe said. “Our focus going forward will be to learn from our mistakes and look to a bright future by regaining the respect and dignity that our students and the university deserve.”

Along with getting acquainted with the assistant coaches and the current players, Grobe is reaching out to recruits who signed letters of intent with Baylor in spring but have not yet enrolled at the university and indicated their desire to be released from those commitments. He wants to meet with the players and their parents.

“Obviously, we have some parents and kids who are concerned,” Grobe said. “I want to meet with all the players and parents involved and try to convince them that Baylor is still a great place to be.”

Grobe said he didn’t know how long that process would take, but that Baylor would follow NCAA guidelines. There is an appeals process for any signee who is not released by the school from his letter of intent.

One of Baylor’s top recruits, highly touted receiver Devin Duvernay, is the only signee free to pursue other opportunity because his national letter of intent with the Bears was never submitted by the school to the Big 12 Conference. The player’s father discovered the school’s mistake when seeking his son’s release.

Donovan Duvernay, the receiver’s twin brother, also signed with Baylor in February out of Sachse High School near Garland, Texas. His letter was submitted properly.

Grobe’s contract is only for the 2016 season, but he didn’t discount the idea of being at Baylor longer.

“If things go well, I like coaching, I can see myself being here for a while,” Grobe said. “Like most coaches, we need to play well, our kids need to do the right things both on and off the field. My attitude and our coaches’ attitude, if we take care of business, we’ll be allright.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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