Mount Vernon community weighs in on controversial Art Briles hire

The school board in the East Texas town of Mount Vernon faced the public for the first time since hiring a controversial football coach.

In May, Mount Vernon ISD hired former Baylor University head football coach Art Briles.

Briles was fired three years ago in the midst of a sexual assault scandal involving some of his players accused of sexual assault. He has denied allegations that he helped in the cover-up.

Some in the school district of about 1,600 students believe Briles deserves a fresh start, saying he will bring in publicity and money for their district. Others believe his hiring sends the message that winning is more important than morals.

"I'm going to remember your decision during the next school board election and cast my vote for integrity and the wellbeing of the young men and women of this town," one community member said at the meeting.

"He deserves an opportunity. He's too young to throw him on the trash heap," another argued.

Mount Vernon Superintendent Jason McCullough previously said the district vetted 63-year-old Briles and talked to people who knew him before making the decision to bring him on. But, McCullough would not expand on the hiring process.

He took a job coaching an American football team in Florence, Italy after failing to get another college coaching job. He will head to Mount Vernon once that season wraps up.