By Michael J Basile, @MdoubleJB
What we know.
As John Mara, Steve Tisch, and Dave Gettleman look at options to be the next Head Coach of the franchise, Baylor Head Coach, Matt Rhule has been getting a lot of love. Who exactly is he?
- The 44-year-old was born and raised in NY and played linebacker for Penn State under Joe Paterno.
- His coaching career began right after that in 1998 as a linebackers coach for Albright College.
- He has experience coaching both sides of the ball and Special Teams, starting as a defensive coach early in his career and then on the offensive side of things later on.
- He was on Coach Coughlin’s staff in 2012 as an assistant O-Line coach after spending 2006-2011 with Temple University.
- Then in 2013, he became Temples head coach until 2016, and from 2017-2019 – Head Coach at Baylor.
- He REBUILT two reeling programs with Temple and Baylor.
WHAT HE DID:
Rhule took over a 4 – 7 Temple program and went 2-10 in 2013, 6-6 in 2014, and 10-4 in 2015 and 10-3 in 2016 for a complete turnaround. By the time he left as head coach, the program was legit, including beating Penn State for the 1st time since 1941 and two consecutive American East Championships. He credited that first season as an assistant (1-11) as one where he learned a lot.
At Baylor, Rhule took over after a scandal got Art Briles and the old regime fired; they were a disaster of a program. His first season in 2017 they were 1-11, 7-6 in 2018 and 11-2 this year. Just 3 years ago this program was a disgrace having covered up a major scandal. Rhule injected toughness and accountability into the program pushing them all the way to a Bowl game on National TV.
HOW HE DID IT:
Relationships. Rhule is charismatic and connects with his players. The stories of how he would motivate his players are wild. He’s creative and always looking for ways to build rapport with his team.
Honesty: He’s one of the only head college coaches I’ve ever heard of that blatantly tells people, “Yes, I might leave for an NFL job” as opposed to lying to their faces.
Leadership qualities; You can quickly see how he lights up a room (A skill Pat Shurmur didn’t have).
Matt Rhule is a hot commodity, and time will tell if he’s the next head man in New York.