HOUSTON (FOX 26) - David Bailiff, the second-winningest coach in the history of Rice football, is out as head coach of the Owls after 11 years on the job.
Rice athletics director Joe Karlgaard met with Bailiff Monday morning and informed him the school is moving in a different direction.
“We have made the decision to part ways with Coach David Bailiff after 11 seasons,” Karlgaard said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports.
Karlgaard said it was not an easy decision.
“It’s excruciating, and that’s because of the man that David Bailiff is,” Karlgaard said. “He’s a high-character man. He’s led our program with integrity. Our student athletes represent the institution extraordinarily well. Our football alumni are involved. David graduates the kids. We have engineers and scientists on our team, and kids who aspire to play in the NFL. In many ways our program has been everything that we want it to be.
“Just hasn’t been there with the wins and losses the last couple of years, and felt like this was the time that we needed to reset that."
In 2008 Bailiff led the Owls to its first 10-win season since 1949, and the Owls first victory in a bowl game since Rice beat Alabama in the 1954 Cotton Bowl.
Bailiff led Rice to three consecutive bowls, 2012-2014, winning twice, for the first time ever.
His three wins in bowl games match Jess Neely’s record during his Hall of Fame career.
In 2013, Bailiff led Rice to its first outright conference championship in 56 years.
Bailiff also produced the most wins in school history over a two (18), three (25) and four-year (30) period.
And Bailiff has twice been named Conference USA Coach of the Year, in 2008 and 2013.
However, in the last three years the Owls have won a combined nine games, including 1-11 in 2017.
“It comes down to competitive results,” Karlgaard said. “I think just about everything else, with the respect to the program, is being run in an exemplary fashion. Competitive results have to do a bit with coaching, a bit with recruiting. There are a lot of factors that go into whether or not you win on the field. We just haven’t won the last couple years.”
Karlgaard will begin a national search for a new coach immediately.
“We want to be very focused and targeted in finding a new head coach for this program,” Karlgaard said. “This is a challenging job, but it’s one if you embrace our values, I think is an excellent job. We’re so much different that the vast majority of FBS. I think if you can embrace what this place is, you can have extraordinary success here."
Karlgaard plans to move quickly, but not at the expense of making the right call.
“We want to make sure that we get the right person and we do that as swiftly as possible,” Karlgaard said. “We won’t make a rash decision. First, it’s about the match and then it’s about the swiftness.”
Karlgaard has hired Turnkey Search, which is based in New Jersey, to assist him in finding the next head coach for the Owls football program.
Turnkey’s college athletics division is led by Gene DeFilippo, a former college football coach and athletics director. He was the AD at Villanova (1993-1997) and Boston College (1997-2012).
“I’ve just been very impressed with the job that they’ve done with recent AD and football searches,” said Karlgaard.
“That being said, make no mistake, that I am leading this search. We are using Turnkey as a consultant. They’re going to help us with various aspects of this search, but this is a search that will be run by me.”
Karlgaard said Bailiff will be paid for the final year of his contract.