Lying Ex-Baylor Coach Resigns In Disgrace, Again

Dave Bliss made up an awful, racist story about a former player and is finally paying the price

Getty Images
Apr 04, 2017 at 11:57 AM ET

Disgraced former Baylor University basketball head coach Dave Bliss resigned as head coach of Southwestern Christian University, an NAIA school in Oklahoma, three days after the premiere of a Showtime documentary which detailed his scandal-ridden tenure at Baylor.

In 2003, Baylor men’s varsity basketball player Patrick Dennehy was shot and killed by his then-teammate and best friend, Carlton Dotson. Dotson was eventually charged with murder and sentenced to 35 years in prison, a portion of which was spent undergoing psychiatric evaluation. But in the days that followed Dennehy’s murder, in order to cover up under-the-table payments to Dennehy that Bliss feared would be uncovered, Bliss concocted a story to explain Dennehy’s tuition payments. Namely, that Dennehy had been dealing drugs on campus

“We can get out of this,” Bliss said during a conversation that was secretly recorded by his assistant coach, Abar Rouse. “There’s nobody right now that can say that we paid Pat Dennehy. Because he’s dead.”

“So what we have to do is create the reasonable doubt,” Bliss said in a another conversation with Rouse. “And the thing about it is, what the lawyers want to do is all they got to handle is $2,000 for the down payment, and then $7,000 on his tuition. And what we’ve got to create here is drugs.”

He also tried to rope his players into backing him up. ”It doesn’t have to be the same story,” said Bliss. “It just has to have the same ending.”

Bliss resigned in August 2003 amidst allegations of further NCAA violations, including unreported failed drug tests and tuition payments made to other members of the team. In 2005, he was slapped with a 10-year ban by the NCAA

Shockingly, filmmakers somehow convinced Bliss that it would be wise to discuss what happened at Baylor for the documentary, “Disgraced,” which premiered on Sunday. Multiple investigations conducted by law enforcement officials, Baylor University, and the NCAA were unable to find a shred of evidence that supported Bliss’s story. But in the film, he still can’t bring himself to admit that it was a fiction he concocted to cover his ass.

Via the Daily Beast:

“This is off camera but—he was selling drugs. He sold to all the white guys on campus,” Bliss says. “Yeah, he was the worst… but you’ll never be able to use this.”

Bliss gets up from his interview seat after he starts discussing the alleged illegal activity, seemingly unaware that he’s still being recorded.

“They knew all that stuff,” Bliss says of the police. The main detective on the case, Waco Police Officer Bob Fuller, disputes this claim during his interview.

In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Bliss said it outright without the help of a hot mic, calling Dennehy “the worst” and asserting that Dennehy had specifically targeted white male Baylor students.

“He failed numerous drug tests,” Bliss said in a phone interview. “I let his parents know when he failed those tests. Things escalated from there. All I did was repeat what players told me. I stand by what I said.”

And now he’s been forced to quit again from a job which he should never have held in the first place. All of this information was publicly available in 2015 when Southwestern Christian president Reggies Wenyika hired Bliss. At the he time, he declared that, “Coach Bliss fits well within our mission and culture and embraces what a Christian-based education is all about.”

President Wenyika did not specify exactly what had changed in the two-year interim—and neither the film nor Bliss’s public comments are mentioned at all—but he does reiterate that whomever serves as the next college coach should be in lockstep with the university’s “Christian heritage of providing a values-driven education.”

The full statement can be read here.