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Baylor Football: Why Does Art Briles Only Wear Long Sleeves?

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Located in the heart of Texas, Waco “experiences a humid subtropical climate,” a city that has experienced 90-degree temperatures in every month of the year and is especially sweltering when college football begins in late August or early September.

It’s rather ironic then that one of the city’s most well-known citizens, Baylor head football coach Art Briles, is always spotted only wearing long sleeve shirts. Go ahead and look through Google Images or YouTube trying to find an image where you can see Briles’ bare arms; the only one we could find is from his playing days at the University of Houston back in the 1970s.

It’s become such an inherent part of his identity that “Coach Long Sleeves” is a nickname that’s been bestowed upon him by adoring fans.

And it’s not a recent look for Briles either. He’s rocked the look as far back as his 12-year career at Stephenville (TX) High in the 1980s and 1990s and the five years he spent as the head coach at Houston (2003-2007), in two other Lone Star State cities with hot climates similar to Waco’s.

The reason behind Briles’ style choice remains a mystery. One rumor was that he wore long sleeves to cover up an arm tattoo - one that was shot down by a commenter on a Baylor message board who didn’t see any inking when Briles appeared on “Inside Baylor Sports” wearing a non-long sleeve shirt. Another theory is that he’s protecting himself from skin cancer, while one Redditor joked that Briles “kept all his trick plays” up his long sleeves.

Briles is coy about pretty much everything, and his answer to the long sleeves question when interviewed by CBS’ Dennis Dodd last fall was well in line with that reputation: “There’s a lot of different ways to skin a cat. You use the knife you feel best about.”

It’s not as much of a non-answer as one would think. Football coaches, after all, are creatures of habit. It might just be that Briles grew used to wearing long sleeve shirts on gamedays and opted not to rock the boat when he started winning games on a consistent basis.

Baylor fans certainly shouldn’t mind the unconventional (for Texas) wardrobe choice. When all your coach does is win games, “put players in the NFL and wear long sleeve shirts,” he can wear whatever he likes.

 
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