Record: 61-57 (19-45 Big 12)
How does the shame of a coach's tenure outrank that of one which ended with the death of a program?
By ending with the death of a player and a clumsy coverup of the same.
Dave Bliss had been hugely successful at New Mexico, making seven NCAA tournaments. Baylor gave him a handsome raise to take over in 1999, but postseason invitations were thin on the ground. The Bears made one NIT appearance in 2001, losing to Bliss' former employer New Mexico.
The entire program was rocked when junior forward Patrick Dennehy went missing in June 2003. Teammate Carlton Dotson was arrested for murdering Dennehy, whose badly decomposed body was found days later.
Reports surfaced later that summer that Bliss, running up against the NCAA scholarship limit, had secretly paid the tuitions of two players, Dennehy and Corey Herring. Bliss turned on Dennehy, painting him as a drug dealer in an effort to explain how the tuition had been paid. He ordered players and assistants to go along with the story, only to have one such conversation recorded by assistant Abar Rouse.
The coach also attempted to convince Herring's mother to lie about the source of the funds and impersonated Herring's father to fish for evidence.
As scandals went, this one had everything. Aside from murder and illegal payments, Baylor came under NCAA scrutiny for drug use, illegal observation of recruits and a laundry list of other violations.
Perhaps no one should have been surprised. Bliss's tenure at SMU, his job before landing at New Mexico, ended in running from the NCAA posse for illegal payments to players, including All-America center Jon Koncak.
Still, the cold-blooded slander of a deceased player remains beyond the pale for most observers. Bliss was hit with a 10-year show cause penalty and is unlikely to ever return to college coaching.
Baylor was put on probation until 2010, lost recruiting visits for three years and was banned from playing any nonconference games in 2005-06.
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