Panthers hire coach with UB ties
Matt Rhule was UB assistant coach in '90s
UPDATE: Matt Rhule agreed to a seven-year, $60 million contract with the Carolina Panthers, the team announced Tuesday.
Rhule was scheduled to meet with the New York Giants Tuesday, but cancelled that meeting to accept the Carolina role. He was “amongst the top candidates” for the Giants job, but according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, New York declined to match the Panthers’ offer, choosing instead to hire 38-year-old Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge
Former Baylor University head coach Rhule was "expected to be a leading candidate for the Giants’ and Panthers’ HC jobs,” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Rhule, 44, has been credited with turning around both Baylor and Temple’s football programs. He is considered one of the sharpest young minds in the game, and has coached both offense and defense.
Rhule got his start at the Division-I level in Buffalo. In 1999, Rhule was the Bulls’ defensive line coach in their return to the D1 level. He stayed at UB until the 2000 season, after earning a Master’s in Educational Psychology from the school.
He signed a contract extension for Baylor in September, lasting through 2027.
But in March, former basketball head coach Nate Oats signed a five-year contract extension with the Bulls. Less than two weeks later, he resigned from UB to become head coach at the University of Alabama. And analysts suspect something similar could happen with Rhule.
Rhule grew up in New York City before moving to State College, PA as a teenager. He attended Penn State, where he walked on as a linebacker for coach Joe Paterno. After graduating, he spent a year at Albright College, where he coached the linebackers before going to Buffalo where he spent two years as an assistant coach.
Following stops at UCLA and Western Carolina, Temple hired Rhule in 2006 to coach the defensive line. He worked his way up in Philadelphia, first becoming run game coordinator, then offensive coordinator and finally, after a brief stop as assistant offensive line coach for the Giants, head coach.
In his third year as head coach, he led the Owls to a 10-4 record and a win over Penn State for the first time since 1941. The next year, he led the team to its first conference championship since 1967.
In December 2016, he became head coach at Baylor University, a school that had just been affected by a sexual-assault scandal. In three years, he took the Bears from the basement of the Big 12 Conference to a No. 7 ranking and a Sugar Bowl appearance.
Justin Weiss is a senior sports editor and can be reached at email@example.com