Former PSU Player Named Head Football Coach at Temple

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa.Matt Rhule [pronounced rule], who has 15 seasons of coaching experience on the collegiate and professional levels, has been named Temple University’s 26th head football coach.   He most recently served as the assistant offensive line coach with the New York Giants.

The State College, Pa., native, a former player at Penn State, has 14 years of collegiate coaching experience, including six seasons at Temple, and six bowl games– two with the Owls– on his resume.

“We had a diverse and talented pool of candidates and an overwhelming amount of interest in the Temple football head coaching position, but one person distinguished himself from the rest – Matt Rhule,” said Temple University Director of Athletics Bill Bradshaw. “Matt is the perfect person to take the Temple football program to the next level. He is an outstanding recruiter and in his six years at Temple was responsible for bringing many of the players that helped the program win its first bowl in 32 years. He is one of the top young minds in the profession, and has a total understanding of the game. And clearly he is someone who loves Temple, and is already ingrained into the Temple community.”

“It is with tremendous pride and anticipation for the future that my family and I are coming home to Temple University. I am honored and thankful that Bill Bradshaw along with Presidents Englert and Theobald have entrusted me with the privilege to serve Temple as its head football coach, and I am impressed with their vision for the future,” said Rhule. “I had the privilege of spending six wonderful seasons at Temple University in a myriad of roles. and it was during that time that I realized Temple was home. I am very proud of everything that we accomplished culminating in our third straight bowl eligible season and New Mexico Bowl victory. When the opportunity came to return and serve the Temple student-athletes and the greater University community as a whole; I knew it was right. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and look forward to continuing the program’s upward momentum as a member of the BIG EAST Conference.”

Rhule, 37, joined the Giants last spring. He worked closely with Pat Flaherty, who has been the offensive line coach since 2004.

During his previous tenure at Temple, Rhule’s role changed several times. Last spring, he was promoted to co-offensive coordinator after serving as the assistant offensive coordinator and tight ends coach as well as the recruiting coordinator under Steve Addazio in 2011.  Temple’s 2012 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference and helped lay the foundation for the program’s transition to the BIG EAST Conference.

Under Al Golden, Rhule was promoted to offensive coordinator in the spring of 2008. He also coached the TU quarterbacks.  He coached the defensive line in 2006 and served as the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. For three consecutive years, Temple’s recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the MAC [2006, 2007, 2008].

In 2011, the Owls went 9-4 and played in the fourth bowl game in school history, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, where they crushed Wyoming, 37-15 – Temple’s first postseason victory since the 1979 Garden State Bowl.  Rhule mentored two-time first-team All-MAC selection TE Evan Rodriguez. For the second time in Rhule’s tenure, the Owls set the Temple single-season rushing yardage record and rushing touchdowns records behind the explosive efforts of All-MAC junior running backs Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown.

In 2010, Rhule guided the offense to the largest margin of victory in a MAC game.  Helping the team to an 8-4 regular-season record, the Owls recorded back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1978-79, including their first win over a BCS team. The Owls recorded the largest margin of victory (42 points) in a MAC game against Buffalo. A school record six offensive players earned All-MAC honors, including repeat first-team honorees OL Colin Madison, OL Darius Morris, and RB Bernard Pierce as well as first-time honoree TE Evan Rodriguez.

In 2009, Rhule’s offense helped TU win a single-season record nine consecutive games en route to a 9-4 overall record and first-place tie in the MAC East. Under Rhule’s guidance, the Owls set the Temple single-season rushing yardage record. A school record five offensive players were named All-MAC, including three on the first team. All-American Bernard Pierce rushed his way into the Temple record book, re-writing all records for a rookie en route to 2009 MAC Freshman of the Year honors.

In 2008, Rhule took the reins as offensive coordinator, helping the Owls to their most wins in nearly two decades. The Owls out-scored their opponents for the season for the first time since 1990. Rhule coached All-MAC honorees C Alex Derenthal and school record holder WR Bruce Francis, while QB Adam DiMichele set the school record for passing touchdowns with six in the 55-52 win over Eastern Michigan. WR Bruce Francis set the school records for career receiving TDs (23) and consecutive games with a reception (38).

Rhule arrived in Owl Country after spending four seasons as an assistant coach at Western Carolina, including three as assistant head coach.

From 2002 to 2005, Rhule was an assistant at Western Carolina under head coach Kent Briggs, serving as assistant head coach during his last three seasons. In 2005, he was offensive line coach and run game coordinator after directing the linebackers his first three years. Rhule was special teams coordinator during his tenure in Cullowhee (N.C.). In 2005, the Catamounts led Division I-AA in kickoff returns, averaging 27.44 yards per return. Sophomore Mike Malone earned first team All-Southern Conference honors with a 31.29 yards per kickoff return average, ranking second nationally. Two offensive linemen and the team’s punter captured second team all-league accolades.

In 2004, WCU ranked 12th nationally in total defense and 15th in pass defense, largely due to the production of Rhule’s linebacker corps. The team’s top five tacklers were linebackers in its eight man front scheme. In 2003, the Catamounts led the SoCon in rush defense for the first time in school history.

Rhule arrived at Western Carolina after serving as assistant defensive line coach at UCLA in 2001. He assisted in coaching five Bruins that earned All PAC-10 honors as the team posted a 7-4 record under head coach Bob Toledo.

From 1999 to 2000, Rhule served as an assistant coach at Mid-American Conference member Buffalo, directing the Bulls defensive line in 2000 and working as assistant defensive line coach in 1999. In 2000, the team’s sack total increased from 12 to 27 utilizing a 3-4 alignment. Buffalo also earned its first two Division I-A victories that season.

Rhule began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Penn State in the spring of 1998 before working at Albright College in Reading, Pa. for the 1998 season. At Albright, he coached the linebackers in a 4-3 scheme and recruited western and central Pennsylvania.

Rhule played four seasons at linebacker with the Nittany Lions under Joe Paterno. A three-time Penn State Scholar-Athlete, he earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 1997.

Born January 31, 1975,  Rhule received his undergraduate degree in political science before earning his master’s degree in educational psychology from Buffalo in 2003.

He is married to the former Julie Nibert. The couple has an eight-year old son, Bryant, and is expecting a baby in the spring.

Rhule inherits a Temple team that posted a 4-7 overall record (2-5 in BIG EAST play) in 2012. The Owls returned to the BIG?EAST Conference in 2012 after a seven-year absence and won back-to-back league games for a 2-0 start in BIG?EAST?play, both for the first time in school history.

Temple returns 46 letterwinners and 15 starters, including BIG EAST Rookie of the Year Tyler Matakevich, for the 2013 season. The Owls open the 2013 slate at No. 1 Notre Dame on August 31.

Article Courtesy of Temple