WACO, Texas -- A new era began for Baylor football on Dec. 7, 2016, as Matt Rhule (pronounced RULE) was introduced as the 27th head coach to lead the Bears program.
Rhule, a 20-year coaching veteran, arrived in Waco fresh off leading Temple to the 2016 American Athletic Conference championship. He guided the Owls to the school's first-ever back-to-back 10-win seasons and bowl berths in 2015 and 2016, and a two-year 14-2 record in AAC play. He spent four seasons as head coach at Temple and 10 total seasons at the school.
The Owls earned their first top 25 ranking in 36 seasons under Rhule's guidance (in 2015) and among the 29 All-AAC honorees produced by Temple in his four seasons as head coach was 2015 Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy winner and two-time All-American Tyler Matakevich. Rhule also mentored 10 players invited to the Senior Bowl as a head coach, and had 70 players earn Academic All-AAC honors in his first three seasons.
Rhule led Temple to the 2016 AAC championship with a 34-10 victory over Navy in the title game and earned a bid to the Military Bowl. Nine players from the 10-3 squad received All-AAC honors and the Owl defense ranked third nationally allowing just 275.9 yards per game.
In 2015 Temple won the AAC East and played in the league's inaugural championship game. Rhule's Owls finished with a school-record 10 wins (10-4) and played in the Boca Raton Bowl. Thirteen of his players earned all-conference honors, led by consensus All-American and AAC Defensive Player of the Year Matakevich. Temple defeated Penn State for the first time in 73 years and climbed to No. 22 in the AP Top 25 poll.
Temple's win total improved to six (and a .500 record) in 2014 from two in Rhule's first season at the helm in 2013. The Owls allowed just 23 fourth quarter points all season in 2014.
Rhule returned to Temple after coaching with the New York Giants under head coach Tom Coughlin in 2012. He worked closely with Pat Flaherty in coaching the offensive line. The Giants finished 9-7 and averaged 335 yards on offense. Offensive guard Chris Snee earned 2012 Pro Bowl honors.
Prior to his stint in the NFL, Rhule spent six seasons as a top assistant under Al Golden in his first tenure at Temple, the final four seasons directing the offense in coordinator capacities.
In the spring of 2012, he was promoted to co-offensive coordinator after serving as the assistant offensive coordinator and tight ends coach as well as the recruiting coordinator under Steve Addazio in 2011. Temple's 2012 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the MAC and helped lay the foundation for the program's transition to the Big East Conference.
In 2011, the Owls finished 9-4 and won the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Temple's first postseason victory since 1979 (just the fourth bowl game in school history). Rhule mentored two-time first-team All-MAC selection TE Evan Rodriguez. For the second time in Rhule's tenure, the Owls set the Temple single-season rushing yardage and rushing TDs records behind All-MAC junior running backs Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown.
Rhule helped guide Temple's 2010 team to an 8-4 record, and the school's first back-to-back winning seasons since 1978-79. A school-record six offensive players earned All-MAC honors.
In 2009, Rhule's offense helped TU win a single-season record nine consecutive games en route to a 9-4 mark and first-place tie in the MAC East. Under Rhule's guidance, the Owls set the Temple single-season rushing yardage record. A school-record five offensive players were named All-MAC, including three on the first team. All-American Pierce rushed his way into the Temple record book and 2009 MAC Freshman of the Year honors.
Rhule took the reins in 2008 as offensive coordinator, helping the Owls to their most wins in nearly two decades. Quarterback Adam DiMichele set a school record with six TDs in a 55-52 win over Eastern Michigan.
Under Al Golden, Rhule was promoted to offensive coordinator in the spring of 2008. He also coached the TU quarterbacks. He coached the defensive line in 2006 and served as the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. For three consecutive years, Temple's recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the MAC [2006, 2007, 2008].
From 2002 to 2005, Rhule was an assistant at Western Carolina under head coach Kent Briggs, serving as assistant head coach during his last three seasons. In 2005, he was offensive line coach and run game coordinator after directing the linebackers his first three years. Rhule was special teams coordinator during his tenure in Cullowhee (N.C.). In 2005, the Catamounts led Division I-AA in kickoff returns, averaging 27.44 yards per return. Sophomore Mike Malone was named first-team All-Southern Conference after averaging 31.29 yards per kickoff return, ranking second nationally. Two offensive linemen earned second-team all-league accolades.
In 2004, WCU ranked 12th nationally in total defense and 15th in pass defense, largely due to the production of Rhule's linebacker corps. The team's top five tacklers were linebackers in its eight-man front scheme. In 2003, the Catamounts led the SoCon in rush defense for the first time in school history.
Rhule arrived at Western Carolina after serving as assistant defensive line coach at UCLA in 2001. He assisted in coaching five Bruins that earned All-Pac-10 honors as the team posted a 7-4 record under head coach Bob Toledo.
From 1999 to 2000, Rhule served as an assistant coach at Mid-American Conference member Buffalo, directing the Bulls defensive line in 2000 and working as assistant defensive line coach in 1999. In 2000, the team's sack total increased from 12 to 27 utilizing a 3-4 alignment. Buffalo also earned its first two wins over Division I-A programs that season.
Rhule began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Penn State in the spring of 1998 before working at Albright College in Reading, Pa., for the 1998 season. At Albright, he coached the linebackers in a 4-3 scheme and recruited western and central Pennsylvania.
Rhule played four seasons at linebacker with the Nittany Lions under Joe Paterno. A three-time Penn State Scholar-Athlete, he earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 1997. He received his undergraduate degree in political science from PSU in 1997 before earning his master's degree in educational psychology from Buffalo in 2003.
Born Jan. 31, 1975, Rhule spent his childhood in New York City before moving to State College, Pa., as a teenager. He is married to the former Julie Nibert. The couple has a son, Bryant (12), and two daughters, Vivienne (3) and Leona (1).
THE RHULE FILE
Born: Jan. 31, 1975
Family: wife Julie; children: Bryant (12), Vivienne (3), Leona (1)
High School: State College Area
College: Penn State, 1997 (B.A. in Political Science); Buffalo, 2003 (M.A. in Educational Psychology)
Penn State (1994-97), linebacker
1998 Albright College, linebackers
1999 Buffalo, assistant defensive line
2000 Buffalo, defensive line
2001 UCLA, assistant defensive line
2002 Western Carolina, linebackers / special teams
2003-04 Western Carolina, assistant head coach / linebackers / special teams
2005 Western Carolina, asst. head coach / OL / special teams / run game coord.
2006 Temple, defensive line
2007 Temple, quarterbacks / recruiting coordinator
2008-10 Temple, offensive coord. / quarterbacks
2011 Temple, assistant offensive coord. / tight ends / recruiting coord.
2012 N.Y. Giants, assistant offensive line
2013-16 Temple, head coach
1994 Rose Bowl (student-athlete, PSU)
1995 Outback Bowl (student-athlete, PSU)
1996 Fiesta Bowl (student-athlete, PSU)
1997 Citrus Bowl (student-athlete, PSU)
2009 Eagle Bank Bowl (assistant coach)
2011 Gildan New Mexico Bowl (assistant coach)
2015 Boca Raton Bowl (head coach)
2016 Military Bowl (head coach)
THE RHULE WORKSHEET (head coaching record)
|2015||Temple||10-4||Boca Raton Bowl||7-1||1st (AAC East)|
|2016||Temple||10-3||Military Bowl||7-1||1st (AAC East)|
|TOTALS||4 Seasons||2 Bowl Berths (0-1)||19-13|
Matt Rhule, Baylor Head Coach:
"I am truly honored and humbled to join the Baylor Family, and I can't thank President Garland and Mack Rhoades enough for this incredible opportunity. Baylor is a tremendous institution with a history of football success and I know the passion that so many have for the Bears will help bring the community together to reach even greater heights. I am excited to get started."
Mack Rhoades, Baylor Director of Athletics:
"We could not be more excited to welcome Matt, Julie and their children to the Baylor Family. When we set out on our search for a new leader of our football program, we wanted a coach who shared our values, who had demonstrated success, who showed a true commitment to the overall student-athlete and who we believed could lead Baylor to a national championship. We found all of that and more in Matt and I know that he will be a perfect fit with the Baylor Family."
David Garland, Baylor Interim President
"This a great day for Baylor University and the beginning of a new chapter in our football program. Matt is the absolute right man at the right time to lead us forward and I am confident that his values are our values and that his teams and student-athletes will make us all proud, on and off the field."
Grant Teaff, Former Executive Director of American Football Coaches Association
"Frankly, I could not be happier with Mack Rhoades' selection of Matt Rhule as Baylor's head football coach. I have watched Matt for the past 15 or 16 years as he has developed into one of the top young coaches in America. Matt is a perfect fit for Baylor and is a truly an outstanding coach of strong, positive character traits. Furthermore, Matt knows and understands the tremendous value in our Texas high school coaches and their products. I can only reiterate how impressed I am with the quality of the man and his ability to coach. Baylor is clearly on the way back with this selection."
Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach
"Matt's a phenomenal football coach and an even better person. He'll bring great integrity to Baylor University and a great work ethic. He's a top-notch person and a relentless recruiter. My hat's off to Baylor, I think they brought on board one of the best young coaches in the game."
Kevin Negandhi, ESPN
"I think Baylor couldn't have found a better coach and mentor to lead its program than Matt Rhule. He's the epitome of what you want in a college football coach and he passionately cares about his players. He changed the culture at Temple, a perennial doormat. He's committed to representing the right things about a university, and Baylor hired an authentic person ready to shape young men and to deliver results in the community."
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT BAYLOR'S HIRE OF Matt Rhule:
"This is an outstanding hire!"
-Tim Brando, FOX Sports
"Baylor is getting a hell of a coach and a better man."
-Kevin Negandhi, ESPN
"That's a great get for Baylor."
-Ralph Russo, Associated Press
"A tremendous hire for Baylor... culturally a good fit. He's a guy who does things the right way."
-Mark Schlabach, ESPN
"Rhule is a really good hire."
-George Schroeder, USA Today
"Rhule did wonders at Temple... great hire by Bears."
-Adam Rittenberg, ESPN
"Matt Rhule is... a guy with integrity... and an excellent coach."
-Paul Zeise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Baylor got an A+ coach and man."
-Brett McMurphy, ESPN
"Baylor's hire of Matt Rhule is a good one... a good match."
-Gil Brandt, NFL.com
"Matt Rhule is an outstanding coach."
-Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN
"Really good hire by Baylor."
-Albert Breer, MMQB.com
"What a hire for the Bears."
-Matt Fortuna, ESPN
"Wow. Good for Baylor for landing Matt Rhule. He's awesome."
-Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report
"Outstanding hire for Baylor."
-Ahmad Brooks, ESPN