Baylor has found its man. Temple head coach Matt Rhule will be the Bears’ next head coach.
There’s a lot to like about this hire. Rhule, 41, is coming off his second straight 10-win season at Temple. He has gone 14-2 in AAC conference play the past two seasons. Rhule does not have the scalps Tom Herman did at Houston. But, one can argue building a winner at Temple was a much tougher job.
Baylor was not going to be in the market for a top-tier head coach. It is a better job than when Art Briles took over. There’s a new stadium. But, the scandal has diminished the brand. Texas is rising. Baylor’s window as a recruiting force in Texas was a blip. Briles has given fans expectations beyond their means. Given all that, landing one of the sport’s top up-and-comers is a bit of a coup.
Missouri had some interest in Rhule last season, though he ended up staying at Temple. James Franklin being on much firmer footing at Rhule’s alma mater Penn State may have made the jump easier.
A major question is how Rhule will fare in Texas recruiting. Briles was a long-time high school coach in Texas. Herman had multiple stops in Texas as an assistant before landing the Houston job. This is a complete regional shift for Rhule. Most of Rhule’s background has been in the Northeast and at Temple.
Another will be how Rhule adjusts the offense. Baylor ran Art Briles’ up-tempo spread. They were the 2nd fastest offense in the nation in 2016. Rhule’s Temple ran the 119th fastest offense.
Besides hiring his staff, Rhule has some work to do between now and Signing Day.