Baylor coach Matt Rhule became one of the hottest names on the NFL coaching carousel, so it came as little surprise that word broke on Tuesday that he was being hired to be the head coach of a professional franchise.
The prevailing thought was that Rhule was most likely to land the New York Giants job, given that he was previously an assistant with the G-Men in 2012 before his highly successful stints as head coach with Temple and Baylor. However, before he could even get back to the Meadowlands for an interview with the Giants on Tuesday, word broke from Yahoo’s Pete Thamel, and was confirmed by Ian Rapoport, that Rhule was being hired by the Carolina Panthers.
Sources: Baylor coach Matt Rhule finalizing a deal to become next coach of the Carolina Panthers.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) January 7, 2020
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 7, 2020
As Adam Schefter reported later in the morning, Rhule’s deal in Carolina is massive.
Panthers are giving former Baylor HC Matt Rhule a seven-year – seven year – deal worth $60 million that with incentives could be worth up to $70 million, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 7, 2020
That the Panthers swooped in to hire Rhule came as a bit of a surprise, and his hire precipitated the Giants making Patriots wide receivers coach Joe Judge their head coach. Rhule’s college track record is impressive. He took Temple from being a 2-10 squad his first year and won 10 games in back-to-back seasons in his third and fourth seasons at the helm. He then took over a Baylor program that had just fired Art Briles amid numerous reports of sexual assault by players and a complete lack of accountability in the program that saw a mass exodus of players, and after a 1-11 record his first season just completed an 11-3 season in just his third year.
The question, of course, is how much success can Rhule have when he’s not able to recruit his own players — as is the case with every college coach that makes the leap to the pros — but his ability to get the most out of his players certainly makes him an intriguing candidate.