Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Salinas scheme hit Baylor coach like 'ton of bricks'
Baylor football coach Art Briles, one of several coaches who reportedly invested several hundred thousand dollars with Friendswood investment counselor David Salinas, said Wednesday he is focused on the upcoming season and will rely on advisers to determine whether he was victimized by a Ponzi scheme.
Briles, who spoke to a group of Baylor alumni at the J.W. Marriott, said he is preparing for the Bears' season opener against TCU and suspending judgment on Salinas, who was found dead at his home Sunday, until he has all the facts in the matter.
Salinas, 60, whose death was ruled a suicide, was under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission involving a series of investments he made on behalf of more than 100 clients, including some of the nation's top coaches.
Briles' exposure with Salinas could be as much as $780,000, according to documents cited by SI.com.
"This hit us all like a ton of bricks," Briles said. "We had no idea, of course, at all, so a lot of people are affected, without a doubt."
Briles would not comment on the amount of his investment with Salinas, who owned J. David Financial Group in Friendswood and was the primary owner of Select Asset Management in Houston.
He said he first met Salinas eight or nine years ago while coaching at the University of Houston, to whose athletic department Salinas has given more than $200,000 since 2000, and began doing business with him 10 months ago. He said he and his wife had breakfast once with Salinas and employees since he began doing business with him.
Briles said he was influenced to do business with Salinas in part by the investor's longtime association with former UH coach Bill Yeoman, who coached Briles at UH in the 1970s. One of Briles' former players, Jake Ebner, works for Select Asset Management.
SI.com reported that among the coaches who did business with Salinas were Billy Gillispie of Texas Tech, who had investments said to be valued at $2.3 million; former Arizona coach Lute Olson ($1.17 million), former Rice coach Willis Wilson ($642,000), current Baylor coach Scott Drew $621,000) and former Rice coach Scott Thompson ($65,000).
"Knowing that coach Yeoman was involved since 1979 with him, and other people in Houston who are not coaches who I love and trust and still do, them being involved is what made us go over."
Without mentioning Ebner or Select Asset vice president Greg Muse, who lists his association with the Houston Athletics Foundation on his company bio, by name, Briles said, "I was trying to help those out who had helped me out."
Despite the potential risk as the investigation into Salinas' death continues, Briles said he is focused on football and will not jump to conclusions.
"I'm not going to judge until all the facts are in. I don't think that's fair," he said. "There's smoke out there, but hopefully people don't leave in the third quarter of our football game when we're down by seven and we win by three.
"Let's wait until it's over, and we'll decide what's right and wrong. I'm worried about making first downs and stopping TCU, in all honesty."
He added, however, he said he would not have invested with Salinas "if you give me hindsight 20/20. I don't think it would have happened."