COACHING HONORS & AWARDS
- 2019 Sporting News National Coach of the Year
- 2019 AFCA Region IV Coach of the Year
- 2019 Big 12 Coach of the Year
Matt Rhule was hired as Nebraska's 31st head coach on Nov. 26, 2022, and he led the Cornhuskers to a 5-7 record in his first season in 2023. Rhule has more than a decade of head coaching experience having previously served as head coach of the Carolina Panthers in the National Football League with successful collegiate stints leading the Baylor and Temple programs.
The 2023 season marked Rhule's 12th season as a head coach and his 27th season as a full-time coach. Highly regarded as a program builder and player developer, Rhule has a proven track record of collegiate success.
The 48-year-old Rhule orchestrated quick rebuilds at both Baylor and Temple. Temple won only two games in Rhule's first season but in year three, the Owls set a school record for victories and played in the conference championship game. After leading Temple to a conference title the next season, Rhule moved on to Baylor with similar success. The Bears won only one game in Rhule's first season but in his third year, Baylor won a school-record 11 games and played in the Big 12 Championship Game and the Sugar Bowl. Rhule experienced greater success in his first season at Nebraska, guiding the Huskers to five victories.
HEAD COACHING CAREER
NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS: Rhule guided Nebraska to a 5-7 record in his first season in 2023, tying for the program's most victories in seven seasons. In the final year of Big Ten divisions, Rhule led the Huskers to three West Division wins, matching NU's total from the previous three seasons combined. Nebraska also went undefeated in the month of October for the first time since 2001.
Rhule and his staff helped Nebraska rank among the nation's top 15 most improved teams in rushing defense, rushing offense, total defense and scoring defense. The Huskers also showed improvement in special teams, ranking second nationally with four blocked kicks. Individually, Rhule and his staff helped 10 Huskers earn All-Big Ten honors, including seven returning players who were recognized for the first time in their careers.
CAROLINA PANTHERS: Following successful stints as the head coach at Baylor and Temple, Rhule moved on to the National Football League as the head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Rhule coached the Panthers for two-plus seasons, posting an 11-27 record.
Rhule inherited a Carolina team that had lost eight straight games to finish the 2019 season. He led the Panthers to a 3-2 start in 2020 before finishing with a 5-11 record that included eight one-score losses.
Carolina won its first three games of the 2021 season before injuries at the quarterback position contributed to a 5-12 record. Rhule then led the Panthers through the first five weeks of the 2022 season.
BAYLOR: Rhule produced an impressive turnaround in three seasons as Baylor's head coach from 2017 to 2019, guiding the Bears to a 19-20 record.
Baylor won only one game in Rhule's first season in 2017 but two years later, the Bears went 11-3, becoming the first team from a Power Five Conference to go from 11 losses to 11 wins in two or fewer seasons.
Baylor finished 1-11 in 2017 but eight of the losses were by 14 points or less, including four one-score losses. But Rhule was successful in creating a strong culture and developing players, including quarterback Charlie Brewer, who was named the Big 12 Co-Offensive Freshman of the Year.
In his second season, Rhule guided Baylor to a 7-6 record in 2018 that culminated with a Texas Bowl victory over Vanderbilt. Baylor's six-win improvement from the 2017 to the 2018 season ranked third nationally and led all Power Five programs. His staff's player development was on display again, as wide receiver Jalen Hurd was named the 2018 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
Rhule delivered a record-breaking season in his final year in Waco in 2019. Just two years after a one-win season, Rhule led Baylor to a school-record 11 victories in 2019. The Bears began the season 9-0 to mark the best start in school history, and the season ended with Baylor playing in its first Big 12 Championship game and its second Sugar Bowl. With a second straight bowl appearance, Rhule became only the second coach in Baylor history to make a bowl game in two of his first three seasons.
With an 11-3 record in 2019, Baylor finished with a No. 13 ranking, the Bears' second-highest final ranking since 1951. The only losses in Rhule's final season were a pair of three-point defeats to a top-10 Oklahoma squad and a 12-point Sugar Bowl loss to a top-5 Georgia team.
Sixteen Baylor players earned all-conference honors in 2019, and defensive tackle James Lynch was named the 2019 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year.
TEMPLE: Rhule's first head coaching job came at Temple, where he led the Owl program to new heights in four seasons from 2013 to 2016. Rhule guided Temple to a 28-23 record, including 20-7 over his final two years.
Rhule once again laid the foundation in his first year, when Temple finished 2-10. The final record did not tell the tale of his first season however, as after an 0-6 start, the Owls went 2-4 over the final six games of the season and never trailed entering the fourth quarter in any of their final six games.
With an emphasis on closing out games entering Rhule's second season, his team succeeded by allowing only 23 fourth-quarter points in 12 games in 2014. The strong finishes helped Temple achieve bowl eligibility with a 6-6 record.
With a solid culture and foundation in place, Temple tied its school record with 10 victories in Rhule's third season in 2015, and the Owls again won 10 games in 2016. He led Temple to back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time in program history, as the Owls had produced only one 10-win season before Rhule's appointment as head coach. Temple also played for the conference title in both 2015 and 2016.
In 2015, Rhule led his team to a conference division title and Temple beat Penn State for the first time in 73 years. The Owls started the year 7-0 and achieved a national ranking for the first time in 36 seasons. Temple spent eight weeks ranked in 2015, accounting for half of the 16 all-time weeks the Owls have been ranked entering the 2023 season.
Rhule's final season culminated with another 10-win campaign and the program's first conference title in nearly 40 years, as Temple defeated No. 20 Navy, 34-20, in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game. The Owls set school records for season passing yards and total offense.
Following the AAC Championship Game victory over Navy, Rhule accepted the head coaching position at Baylor.
ASSISTANT COACHING CAREER
NEW YORK GIANTS: Rhule's most recent season as an assistant coach came in the NFL, as he was an assistant offensive line coach with the New York Giants in 2012. The Giants finished 9-7 that season, and Rhule's work with the offensive line helped New York have a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver.
TEMPLE: The longest stop of Rhule's assistant coaching career came at Temple, where he was on the staff for six consecutive seasons from 2006 to 2011. He joined the Owls as the defensive line coach but moved to coaching quarterbacks the next season. Rhule served as Temple's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2008 to 2010, and he was the assistant offensive coordinator and tight ends coach for his final season on staff in 2011.
In 2011, the Owls went 9-4 and won their first bowl game since 1979. For the second time in Rhule's tenure, Temple set a school record for single-season rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. The previous year, Rhule directed an offense that saw a school-record six offensive players earn All-Mid-American Conference accolades.
Temple originally set school records for season rushing yards and offensive all-conference selections in 2009, when Rhule was in his second season as offensive coordinator. That year, Temple also set a program record with nine consecutive wins during the season.
In his first season as offensive coordinator in 2008, Rhule's unit helped the Owls to their most wins (5) in nearly two decades. Temple outscored its opponents for the first time in 18 seasons, and Bruce Francis established the school records for career receiving touchdowns, highlighted by a school-record four touchdown catches against Eastern Michigan.
Rhule spent his first season at Temple coaching the Owls' defensive line.
In addition to his coaching duties, Rhule served as Temple's recruiting coordinator in 2007 and 2011. The Owls landed the No. 1 recruiting class in the MAC in each of Rhule's two seasons as recruiting coordinator.
WESTERN CAROLINA: Rhule coached at FCS Western Carolina from 2002 to 2005, holding a variety of titles during his time as a Catamount. He was the assistant head coach for his final three seasons on staff, as Rhule took on additional duties while head coach Kent Briggs battled cancer.
Rhule coached the offensive line, special teams and linebackers during his tenure, while also serving as the running game coordinator in 2005. Western Carolina ranked 12th in the FCS in total defense in 2004, led by Rhule's linebackers who occupied the top five spots on the team in tackles. As the special teams coach, Rhule's unit led the FCS ranks in kickoff return average (27.4) in 2005.
UCLA: In an impressive rise up the ranks, Rhule landed a Power Five assistant coaching position in just the fourth season of his coaching career. Rhule was the assistant defensive line coach at UCLA in 2001, when the Bruins started 6-0 with four wins over ranked opponents. UCLA ranked in the top 25 nationally in total defense in Rhule's lone season on staff.
BUFFALO: Rhule coached the linebackers at the University of Buffalo for two seasons in 1999 and 2000, which marked the Bulls' first two seasons transitioning to the FBS level from the FCS ranks.
ALBRIGHT COLLEGE: One year after he was finished playing college football, Rhule landed his first full-time coaching job as the linebackers coach at Albright College in Pennsylvania in 1998.
PLAYING CAREER (PENN STATE)
Rhule was a linebacker at Penn State from 1994 to 1997. He helped the Nittany Lions to a 41-8 record in his four seasons with one Big Ten title, three bowl victories and a top-20 final ranking every season.
A native of New York City, Rhule earned his bachelor's degree in political science from Penn State and his master's degree in educational psychology from Buffalo. He and his wife Julie have three children, Bryant, Vivienne and Leona.
2023-present: Nebraska (Head Coach)
2020-22: Carolina Panthers (Head Coach)
2017-19: Baylor (Head Coach)
2013-16: Temple (Head Coach)
2012: New York Giants (Assistant Offensive Line)
2011: Temple (Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator)
2008-10: Temple (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
2007: Temple (Quarterbacks/Recruiting Coordinator)
2006: Temple (Defensive Line)
2005: Western Carolina (Assistant Head Coach/Running Game Coordinator/Special Teams)
2003-04: Western Carolina (Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers/Special Teams)
2002: Western Carolina (Special Teams/Linebackers)
2001: UCLA (Assistant Defensive Line)
2000: Buffalo (Defensive Line)
1999: Buffalo (Assistant Defensive Line)
1998: Albright [Pa.] College (Linebackers)
RHULE COACHING NOTEBOOK
A HISTORY OF IMPROVING PROGRAMS
Matt Rhule has a proven ability to improve programs after laying a strong foundation in year one. He owns a collegiate record of 52-50, but that mark improves to 44-22 when excluding his first season as part of rebuilds at Temple (2013), Baylor (2017) and Nebraska (2023).
- At both Temple and Baylor, Rhule led his team to a school-record victory total in just his third season at the school.
- Rhule took Temple from two wins in his first season to a school-record 10 victories in both his third and fourth seasons. He then took Baylor from one win in his first season to a school-record 11 victories in his third season.
- Over his last five collegiate seasons (2015-19), Rhule has won three division titles and produced three years with double-digit wins.
RHULE TOOK TEMPLE TO NEW HEIGHTS
In his tenure at Temple from 2013 to 2016, Rhule took the Owls to new heights.
- In Rhule's second season in 2014, Temple posted the program's first win over an SEC team since 1938, its first win over a ranked opponent in 16 seasons and the program's largest margin of victory in nearly 50 years.
- Rhule won 10 games in both 2015 and 2016. He is responsible for two of the three 10-win seasons in Temple's 124-year history.
- He also took the Owls to back-to-back bowl games in 2015 and 2016, the first time Temple played in a bowl in consecutive seasons.
- In 2015, Rhule led Temple to the American Athletic Conference Championship Game, the first conference title game in program history.
- The next season, Rhule guided the Owls to their second conference title in program history and the first in nearly 40 years.
- Temple has spent a total of 16 weeks ranked in the 87-year history of the Associated Press top-25 poll. More than half of those top-25 rankings (9) came under Rhule in 2015 and 2016.
- Individually, linebacker Tyler Matakevich was Temple's third consensus All-American and its first in nearly 30 years. Matakevich also became the second Owl to win a major award, as he was the winner of the 2015 Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
AN ENCORE PERFORMANCE AT BAYLOR
At Temple, Rhule led the Owls to their highest season win total in program history, their first conference championship game appearance and an impressive run in the national rankings. He produced an encore by accomplishing each of those same feats in three seasons at Baylor.
- Baylor finished with 11 losses in Rhule's first season in 2017 but two years later, he guided the Bears to 11 wins in 2019. It was a remarkable turnaround, as Baylor became the first Power Five program to go from 11 losses to 11 wins in two or fewer seasons.
- Baylor won its final two games of the 2018 season and its first nine games of the 2019 campaign. The 11 straight victories marked the second-longest winning streak in school history, while Baylor's 9-0 start in 2019 was the best start in program history.
- In 2019, Rhule led Baylor to its most wins (11) in school history, the Bears advanced to their first Big 12 Championship Game and played in the Sugar Bowl for only the second time in program history.
- Baylor finished with a No. 13 ranking in 2019, the Bears' second-highest final ranking since 1951.
FROM THE NFL TO NEBRASKA
Rhule is one of only six FBS head coaches who boasted experience as a full-time NFL head coach.
- Rhule coached 38 games in two-plus seasons as head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Among active FBS head coaches, only Jim Harbaugh (64), Jim Mora Jr. (64) and Chip Kelly (63) served as an NFL head coach for more games than Rhule.
- Four former full-time NFL head coaches led a Power Five program in 2022. Those four coaches guided their teams to a combined 39-8 record in the 2022 regular season, and all four teams spent multiple weeks inside the top 12 of the College Football Playoff rankings.
FORMER FULL-TIME NFL HEAD COACHES IN THE FBS
- Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
- Chip Kelly, UCLA
- Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss
- Jim Mora Jr., UConn
- Matt Rhule, Nebraska
- Nick Saban, Alabama