Dave Bliss‘ tenure as head basketball coach at Baylor University ended in disgrace in 2003.
The most notable controversy involved one of his players, Patrick Dennehy. Bliss had no more scholarships to give out, but recruited Dennehy by paying his tuition under the table, violating NCAA rules. After Dennehy was murdered by another player on the team, Bliss didn’t want anyone finding out about their arrangement and explained Dennehy’s ability to pay for tuition by saying he must have been a drug dealer.
If you think that’s despicable, it’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of shady things Bliss did while at Baylor.
That cost him his coaching job at Southwestern Christian University.
This isn’t the only scandal he’s been involved with. He’s broken recruiting rules, failed to report positive drug tests on his team, and asked players to lie for him. So why anyone would still employ him? Whatever he knows about basketball, is it really worth all the drama?
Apparently, it is. Because he just got hired as head basketball coach and athletic director at Calvary Chapel Christian School in Las Vegas.
He broke rule after rule at the college level, even dragging the reputation of a murdered player through the mud, but none of that seems to matter to the people at this school. And that’s because Bliss is a man of God.
“There’s a great documentary he’s put out there on his testimony, and that is the one thing everybody needs to see right now. That he’s a man of Christ,” [coach and teacher at Calvary Chapel, September] Wilson said.
Ron Kantowski of the Las Vegas Review-Journal says there’s no justification for the hire and points out how Bliss’ character doesn’t align at all with the school’s own stated mission:
According to the mission statement on the school’s website, “Calvary Chapel Christian School exists to build a strong foundation upon God’s word, reach the heart with God’s love, and impact the world for God’s glory.”
After finishing 7-17 last season, it also must want to win basketball games in the worst way.
It’s one thing to give someone a second chance. But Bliss has received many more than that, and he’s obviously still unrepentant of the biggest lie he told.
This is the Donald Trump phenomenon in action. Christians are willing to overlook just about every character flaw in certain people as long as they get the one thing they want from them. From Trump, evangelicals want anti-abortion justices nominated to the Supreme Court and federal benches. From Bliss, this high school wants a better basketball team.
We’ve seen arguments from many Christians in power that we need Ten Commandments monuments in public places or forced prayer in public schools because how else can we be good people? But if you set aside the rhetoric and just look at their actions, it’s clear principles don’t really matter to them. They’re only looking out for themselves and they’re perfectly fine ignoring the worst qualities in the people they endorse in order to come out ahead.
What are the students at Calvary Chapel Christian School supposed to think about all this? You can break every rule in the book and become synonymous with disgrace in coaching, but as long as you say you love Jesus, none of it matters?
It’s an irresponsible move by the school, and the administrators deserve all the criticism they’re getting.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Dustin for the link)