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Phil Bennett reportedly expected to accept Baylor interim head coach job today

Phil Bennett

According to a report from Jeannine Edwards of ESPN, Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett is expected to accept the Bears' interim head coaching job today.

Yahoo's Pat Forde reported the same yesterday.

An interim head coach became necessary, of course, when Baylor fired head coach Art Briles on Thursday following the release of the Pepper Hamilton report detailing the Bears' lack of response to a sexual assault crisis within the football program.

In normal circumstances, Bennett would be the no-brainer choice to lead the Bears in the interim. Bennett is the highest-ranking member of the remaining staff and the only coach in Baylor's employ with previous FBS head coaching experience (he was 18-51 as SMU's head coach from 2002-07).

But in this complicated web of disgust, Bennett helped kickstart the program's downfall last summer when he told a group of Bears boosters he expected defensive end Sam Ukwuachu to see the field last fall when he in fact faced trial for rape over the summer. Ukwuachu was convicted of sexual assault in August in sentenced to 10 years of felony probation while Baylor reached an undisclosed settlement with his victim.

Yet, still, Baylor must field a team this fall, and short of hiring a long-term outside interim (Mack Brown? Mike Singletary?), the Bears must name a new head coach before a search for a full-time coach can begin in earnest.

As I wrote yesterday, recent history suggests the 2016 season could be a rough one for Baylor. After firing Jim Tressel on Memorial Day of 2011, Ohio State named defensive coordinator Luke Fickell its interim head coach for the '11 season and watched its record tank from 12-1 to 6-7. Arkansas fired Bobby Petrino in April of 2012 and hired John L. Smith to coach the 2012 season; the Hogs' record nosedived from 11-2 to 4-8.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.