Temple’s Matt Rhule has accepted an offer to become the next head coach at Baylor, a source told FOX Sports on Tuesday.
The 41-year-old Rhule just led Temple to its greatest two-year run in school history, winning 20 games. The Owls are coming off a dominant 34-10 win over Navy to wrap up the AAC title.
Rhule will take over a Bears program that is reeling after a sexual assault scandal that cost head coach Art Briles as well as Baylor’s AD and president their jobs before this season. Jim Grobe took over the program and Baylor has gone 6-6, losing six in a row to end the season.
There will be significant challenges facing the new coach. Among them is rebuilding a depleted roster that saw a 2016 signing class get whittled in half, and the school’s 2017 recruiting class has been stuck in neutral for months with a lame duck coaching staff. Baylor has only one recruit committed. There is only one scholarship quarterback on the roster — true freshman Zach Smith. In addition, there is also the specter of coaching in the wake of a major scandal, which is still having ripple affects around the Baylor community and figures to for quite some time.
Rhule’s program has been built on being physical and disciplined. The Owls led the AAC in defense by a large margin. They ranked No. 5 in the nation in fewest yards per play allowed. (Three of the teams ranked ahead of them in that category are in the College Football Playoff and the fourth playoff team, Clemson, is ranked right behind the Owls.) They also ranked in the Top 25 in fewest penalty yards.
In 2013, Rhule inherited a program that went 4-7 the year before he arrived in Philly and has gone from two wins in his first season to 6-6 to 10-4 and now to 10-3 and a Top 25 ranking.
Rhule is highly thought of within the coaching world for his development of players through his philosophy of how he reaches kids that stems from lessons he’s learned from his own family.
Rhule’s father was an inner city minister who also coached youth sports. His mom was a social worker. They still travel to Rwanda for three or four weeks every year to do mission work. Rhule relishes having his dad, a former college QB and baseball player at Lock Haven, around his team.