Coach David Bailiff will lead Owls for 11th season


By Chuck Pool

Rice Owls head football coach David Bailiff will return for his 11th season in 2017, Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard announced Nov. 29.

Coach Bailiff

David Bailiff (Courtesy Rice Athletics)

“Yesterday Coach Bailiff and I met to review the 2016 season and to discuss the state of the Rice football program,” Karlgaard said. “While we are all disappointed with the results, there is a plan to turn things around under his leadership next season, and I have made the expectations for 2017 very clear to Coach.”

The Owls closed their 2016 season Nov. 26 with a 41-17 loss to 24th-ranked Stanford and ended the season 3-9.

“After two straight seasons without a winning record, we need to acknowledge that we are not meeting an acceptable competitive standard for this university,” Karlgaard said. “Our ambitions remain very high. We expect to be competitive in every game and to compete for conference championships. When nearly two-thirds of college football programs participate in bowl games every year — including slots for half of Conference USA members — bowl games should be a regular part of our seasons.

“Our season-ending meeting gives me hope that Coach Bailiff can meet these expectations next year. He is prepared to make substantial changes to the football program to ensure our student-athletes are put in the best position possible to be successful on the field. We will work together to carefully implement those changes.”

Karlgaard said that Bailiff, his staff and his student-athletes “have consistently represented Rice in a first-class manner throughout his 10 seasons as our head coach. Together, we have accomplished much competitively as well, including four bowl appearances and a conference championship. It is also important to acknowledge that, despite our disappointments this season, our team did not quit. That’s a great testament to David’s leadership.”

Karlgaard asked “that all Owls fans continue to support our program and to believe that we will get back to our winning ways in 2017.”

Bailiff said, “No one is more disappointed in the 2016 season’s results than I am, and I am resolved to do whatever is necessary to have success once again. While many factors have contributed to our performance these past two seasons, I am focused on my responsibility as our head football coach. I am working with Joe on implementing the changes we need to be successful while also preserving the terrific attitude of our players who fought through a difficult season this year. I am excited to move forward and grateful for the support of our fans and this university.”

In 10 seasons at Rice, Bailiff has led the Owls to four bowl berths and three bowl championships while producing the most wins in school history over a two-year (18 wins), three-year (25 wins) and four-year (30 wins) period. Rice’s 18-9 mark from 2013-14 was the second best of any other Football Bowl Subdivision program in Texas over that time.

He led the Owls to two of the three 10-win seasons in school history and won eight or more games three times, matching coach Jess Neely for the most at Rice. Rice’s 44-24 defeat of the University of Texas at El Paso on Senior Day Nov. 19 was his 56th win at Rice, moving him past coach Ken Hatfield into second on the Rice career-wins list behind Neely.

Bailiff was twice honored by his peers as C-USA Coach of the Year (2008 and 2013). After leading the Owls to their first outright conference championship in 56 years in 2013, he joined Art Briles (Baylor), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), Gus Malzahn (Auburn) and David Shaw (Stanford) as Bear Bryant Coach of the Year award finalists. He was also honored by the San Antonio Express News as its 2013 Co-Sportsman of the Year.

–Chuck Pool is the assistant athletic director, media relations in Rice Athletics.



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