Waco, Texas Houston coach Art Briles is next to take on the task of pulling Baylor out of the Big 12 basement.
Greeted by enthusiastic applause, Briles flashed the school's trademark bear claw sign to supporters when he walked into a crowded room to be introduced Wednesday as Baylor's 25th coach.
Briles met with his new players at Baylor before being formally introduced. Earlier in the day, he met with his players at Houston, where the Cougars are preparing for the fourth bowl in Briles' five seasons. He is not expected to coach the bowl game.
Briles received a seven-year contract that will pay him up to $1.8 million per season, including all incentives. Briles, who will turn 52 Monday, had four years left on his Houston contract with a base salary of $900,000 annually.
Briles replaces Guy Morriss, who was fired Nov. 18 after five seasons. Morriss' firing came the day after the Bears (3-9) completed their 12th straight losing season with their 12th consecutive Big 12 loss, 45-14 to Oklahoma State.
Houston (8-4) already has accepted an invitation to play in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 28 in Houston against an undetermined opponent. Assistant Chris Thurmond, who has been recruiting coordinator and in charge of cornerbacks, was named the interim coach.
Briles was 34-28 in five seasons at Houston with only one losing season. Before his arrival, the Cougars had only two winning seasons in the previous 12 years.
Before going to Houston, where he was a four-year letterman as a receiver and played in the 1976 Cotton Bowl, Briles spent three seasons as running backs coach at Texas Tech. His previous head-coaching job had been at Stephenville High School, where in 12 seasons he was 136-29-2 and won four Texas state championships.