Ex-Temple head coach Matt Rhule struggles at Baylor

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

After amassing a 28-23 record as the Temple Owls head coach, Matt Rhule moved on to helm Baylor, but his first season in Waco didn’t exactly go as planned.

At this point, you kind of have to feel a little bad for former Temple Owls head coach Matt Rhule.

After helping to reestablish Temple on the national college football landscape in the post-Al Golden-era and taking the team to two consecutive bowl games appearances, the most of any Owls coach in history, Rhule received an offer he could not refuse; an opportunity to take his talents to Waco, Texas to head the Baylor Bears.

This on paper seemed like a great fit for Rhule. Growing up the son of a Baptist priest, Rhule’s culture-first approach at Temple seemed like a perfect fit for a university ingulfed in an incredibly unsettling string of controversies largely ignored by former head coach Art Briles. Whether it be a string of sexual assault scandals, cheating claims, and even a former player apparently trapping out of his dorm room, Baylor was in serious need of a change, regardless of how well the football program was doing, and many felt like Rhule fit that bill.

While Rhule, a former walk-on linebacker at Penn State, wasn’t known for running a flashy, air-raid offense like his predecessor, he’d proven at Temple that he could inspire a collection of players to perform above their collective talent level, and build a strong, winning culture.

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But unfortunately for Rhule, his strong convictions did not translate to wins in his first season on campus.

After a recording a pair of 10-win seasons in North Philly, Baylor went 1-11 in Rhule’s first season in Waco and failed to reach a bowl game for the first time in seven seasons. And to be honest, no one was really surprised.

Baylor is arguably in one of the worst situations in the entire nation, with almost half of their scholarships gone, high profile players like Jarrett Stidham and Terence Williams transferring out of the university and even more high profile recruits bypassing the university entirely in favor of other schools. Though Rhule’s job is likely safe for as long as he wants it, due to the long-term nature of the school’s current rebuild, it’s worth wondering just how long he’ll want to stay in Waco.

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With Rhule’s name being tossed around as a possible wild card candidate for the New York Giants‘ current head coaching vacancy, maybe Philly fans will be seeing the former Temple coach again, twice a year in fact.