Tapes reveal ex-Baylor coach told players to lie about Dennehy

Updated: August 17, 2003, 9:31 PM ET

AUSTIN -- The morning after a plot by former Baylor basketball coach Dave Bliss to cover up potential NCAA violations was revealed, he met for about an hour with one of the players he tried to use in the scheme, bringing a tape recorder to the meeting.

Richard Guinn, father of Bears senior center R.T. Guinn, also recorded the meeting at his house Saturday and gave his copy to Baylor investigators.

Richard Guinn refused Sunday to disclose the nature of the conversation, but said Bliss at one point told the player, "I'm sorry about the things that happened."

"I'm upset that he tried to use R.T. in his scheme," Richard Guinn told The Associated Press. He gave his tape to Baylor "to see if there's anything they can use."

Guinn said Bliss planned to visit another player, Harvey Thomas, the same day. Thomas' live-in fiancee told The Dallas Morning News that Bliss knocked on their door but they did not answer.

Thomas did not return a telephone message seeking comment Sunday.

Baylor investigator David Guinn said Richard Guinn, no relation, gave the taped recordings to him. David Quinn said he locked them away at Richard Guinn's request and expects to play them for the committee as early as Monday.

He said he had not listened to the tape and doesn't know what it is on it.

Asked if he was concerned that Bliss would go back to these players, he said, "Yes."

"I think it is counterproductive....," he said. "The facts are as they are. They are not going to change with more discussions with these players."

Bliss tried to use the players and an assistant coach in an attempt to portray slain Baylor player Patrick Dennehy as a drug dealer.

Secretly-recorded tapes of conversations between Bliss, assistant Abar Rouse and players show Bliss thought the drug story would steer investigators away from allegations the coach had improperly paid for Dennehy's tuition, an NCAA violation.

Bliss's coverup attempt was revealed Friday night when Rouse gave the Fort Worth Star-Telegram a copy of his tapes.

Bliss resigned Aug. 8 when the school announced he had been involved in improper tuition payments to two players.

"What we've got to do here is create drugs," Bliss said on one of the tapes, which were recorded July 30, 31 and Aug. 1.

He wanted to portray Dennehy as a dealer who presented Baylor players with marijuana and other "exotic" drugs and carried a wad of thousands of dollars in cash.

"It's not like we created his situation," Bliss said. "We're the victims."

Bliss said Dennehy couldn't deny the allegations because he was dead.

Dennehy was found shot to death on July 25. An autopsy found no alcohol, opiates, amphetamines or barbiturates in his system, but his body was too decomposed to test for marijuana.

Baylor investigators found no evidence Dennehy was involved in drug dealing.

After the cover up was revealed, Bliss called the Guinn house early Saturday morning and asked to come over, Richard Guinn said. When he showed up with a tape recorder, Richard Guinn said he also decided to record the conversation.

Richard Guinn said Bliss remained composed during the meeting.

"He said he was scared of what was coming out on the tapes," Richard Guinn said. Bliss didn't say why he wanted to record the conversation.

"I told Bliss we're not going to lie, we're not going to cover up, we're not going to hold back anything," Richard Guinn said.

Bliss did not return a telephone message left at his Waco home Sunday.

Bill Underwood, a member of the Baylor investigating committee, said he had not heard the Guinn tape and could not comment on its contents. He said the panel was conducting more interviews on Sunday. Calls to the other members of the committee were not immediately returned.

Baylor officials have said one unidentified player tried to use the Dennehy drug dealing story with investigators but he recanted once the tape surfaced.

Guinn said his son met with the committee before Rouse's tapes were recorded and again Friday night after they were revealed. Richard Guinn said R.T. was out of state visiting his mother Aug. 6-13 and that his son did not meet with investigators between Aug. 1 and Aug. 6.

"No, not that I'm aware of," he said.

"They already had his testimony and it was straight," Guinn said. "I've always told him, go in and tell the truth ... We haven't done anything wrong."

Although several players have asked for their release from Baylor to consider transferring to other schools, Guinn said his son wants to stay because he's close to graduation.

Meanwhile, Hempstead center Tyrone Nelson, who asked Baylor for a release from his national letter of intent so he could attend another school, plans to go to Prairie View A&M, his father, the Rev. H.J. Nelson, told Houston television station KRIV Sunday night. Nelson was one of Baylor's top recruits.

Bliss has told The Dallas Morning News that another player, Ellis Kidd Jr., also was at meetings where the drug dealing scheme was discussed.

Ellis Kidd Sr. told the newspaper in Sunday's editions that he talked with Baylor officials Friday night and had been advised not to comment. He could not immediately be reached for comment on Sunday.

A former teammate, Carlton Dotson, has been charged with Dennehy's murder. Dotson remains jailed in his home state of Maryland awaiting extradition.

Baylor officials have said they expect to give the tapes they have received to local prosecutors to determine if any laws were broken.

Dennehy's stepfather, Brian Brabazon, told the AP he plans to pursue a civil lawsuit in the case.

"I doubt we'll ever have peace of mind in our lives the way this is going," Brabazon said.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index