Coach Dave Bliss's July 10 Remarks On Missing PlayerJuly 10, 2003
Baylor men's basketball head coach Dave Bliss spoke to the media Thursday, July 10, on dealing with the disappearance of Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy:
On his own reactions to Patrick Dennehy's disappearance and the subsequent search:
This situation is uncharted waters. We're going through something that is an unbelievably bad nightmare. The only way I know to proceed is to do the best I can everyday. Anytime you deal in a situation where you have such little information, there gets to be unbelievable confusion and tremendous inaccuracies.
I want to voice the tremendous concern I have for the Brabazon and Dennehy families. We continue to pray and have concern for their feelings. That's all I can do as a coach; I'm a basketball coach, and I don't know that area I'm in right now. I'm doing things everyday I never dreamed I'd be involved with.
This is the most unbelievable and surreal situation anyone could go through. This is an ongoing investigation; I'm trying to cooperate any way I can. All of a sudden, my job has taken on all sorts of different directions. I want to continue to work to bring this to a speedy solution. There isn't any roadmap for how to do that for a basketball coach.
I appreciate being the basketball coach at Baylor University. I'm confronted with something completely off the charts, but I'm also in charge of steering through this. With the team and the help of our administration, we'll get through this.
On claims that Bliss' staff knew about trouble beforehand:
From the moment anything was brought up, our response was the same. Neither myself nor anybody on our staff had heard about any threats. We stand by that.
Our reaction is based on any communication we had, or in this case, didn't have. We never got any reference that Pat Dennehy was being threatened, ever. Or that he was even afraid.
On the stories of break-ins and burglaries:
On the aspect of the thefts. It's been mentioned that Carlton Dodson had some money stolen, and that Patrick Dennehy had his car broken into. But that is far removed from anything that could be confused as a threat, and I think unrelated. We told them to contact the police, to make a report and go from there. But to align one with the other is, I think, not prudent.
On the coaches' reactions when Dennehy was missed:
Patrick Dennehy's missing class on Monday, June 16, was important to us because Pat needs this class to be eligible. He didn't need to make an A or a B; he just needed the hours. When he missed that class, we made calls to try and figure out his whereabouts. We had been told that he was going to Arlington to spend time with friends, so quite frankly we assumed that he had stayed there a bit longer.
When he missed class on Tuesday, June 17, we were concerned and called his mother. The emergency number Patrick left us was Valerie Brabazon's number at a previous job. She had since taken a new job and not left a forwarding number. Now we were in a panic to find some other way to contact them. We called as many sources that might have information that we could.
Next to a parent, nobody loves the player more than the coaches. We did everything we could.
On how the team is handling the situation:
It's a case where there's no blueprint for how to handle the sort of tragedy we've endured here. We try to take a little bit of a lead off of 9/11 - to get back to normal as quickly as possible. But we're dealing with one of our family; we have to find the gentle balance.
This is just unbelievable to me; imagine what it is like for a young person? Patrick is like a son to me; this is their brother. We've prepared counseling and stuff like that, but we are holding out hope that something good can come out.
There is a tremendous amount of frustration on the part of everyone who has love for Patrick Dennehy; that emanates from caring for an individual. You have it from family, you have it from friends and you have it from the coaches. The players have the same type of frustration, to a certain extent, that his family has.
Our basketball staff and team have tried to stay together and to stay communicative about it. I just have to be patient and understand that things are out of my control.
On how Bliss is handling normal summer activities:
We're going to return to recruiting, because the recruits need to see us. We've been in touch with all our players, wherever they are, and told them that we don't know much of anything.
I'm starting camp tomorrow at 4:00, and I'll be watching one of our recruits play at 6:30. Then I'll come back for camp the next morning.
Baylor is still a great product out on the street to sell... It's still the same wonderful place that made me decide to come here from New Mexico. It's a wonderful education in the greatest basketball conference in America, and you get a Christian education to boot.
There is no doubt we have been very communicative with our recruits. They understand that this is an unusual situation. They continue to be tremendously interested. They need to learn we're trying to heal, and we can have a good team.