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Oklahoma AD 'disappointed' after Art Briles appears on field after SMU game

The ex-Baylor coach is the father-in-law of Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby

Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said Saturday night that former Baylor coach Art Briles should not have been on the field after the Sooners’ win over SMU.

Briles, the father-in-law of Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby, was on the field in an Oklahoma shirt after the 28-11 victory. When asked about Briles’ presence after the game, coach Brent Venables said it was “being dealt with” while Castiglione issued a postgame statement.

“I was just as disappointed as many of our fans who I learned of the postgame situation tonight,” Castiglione said. “It shouldn’t have happened and it was my expectation it never would, based on boundaries we previously set. I’ve addressed it with the appropriate staff.”

Lebby justified Briles’ presence on the field after the game by saying Briles is the grandfather of his two children and the entire family was on the field. Lebby addressed the issue on Monday and apologized for "creating a distraction."

“I just want everybody to understand, my father-in-law, his presence on the field after the game the other night is something that created a distraction. And I apologize for that. That was not the intent at all. The intent was just to celebrate with my family," Lebby said.

Lebby said Briles did not have a sideline pass but was just on the field when other family members of coaches were allowed on the field. He said he spoke with Castiglione and Venables about the situation and it "is something that will not come up again."

Briles was fired from Baylor in disgrace in 2016 as part of the school’s systemic failure to properly address claims of sexual assault involving his players. An NCAA rules panel said in a 2021 report that Briles had an “incurious attitude toward potential criminal conduct” by football players and he “generally relied” on his staff when it came to those matters. The panel also said Briles “failed to meet even the most basic expectations of how a person should react to the kind of conduct at issue in this case.”

TOLEDO, OH - JULY 01:  Firenze Guelfi head coach Art Briles gives instructions to his players on the field during the Italian Football League XLII Italian Bowl football game between the Parma Panthers and the Firenze Guelfi on July 1, 2023 at Glass Bowl Stadium in Toledo, Ohio. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Former Baylor coach Art Briles coached in the Italian Football League in 2023. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Lebby, 39, was an assistant at Baylor from 2008-16. He was the team’s running backs coach in 2015 and stayed in that capacity for another season after Briles’ dismissal. A female student at Baylor said Lebby was one of the coaches who didn’t act when she said she was assaulted by a Baylor player.

Lebby worked at UCF and Ole Miss before he was hired by Venables to run Oklahoma’s offense ahead of the 2022 season.

Following Saturday night’s game, the OU Daily noted Lebby changed his profile picture on Instagram to a picture of himself and Briles with Lebby’s two children.