Briles agreed to a seven-year contract paying about $1.8 million a year, The Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday. He takes over a team that has not had a winning record in 12 years.
Briles succeeds Guy Moriss, who was fired Nov. 18.
"It looks like my tenure here at the University of Houston has come to an end," Briles told the newspaper. "I'm thankful for the great players, coaches and fans that I've been associated with these past five years."
Briles was 34-28 at Houston.
Moriss was let go after a 3-9 season at Baylor. His overall record with the Bears was 18-40. They were 7-33 in the Big 12.