CHARLOTTE – Plenty of factors made Carolina the most attractive place for new head coach Matt Rhule to land. From owner David Tepper's promise of a blank canvas, to new facilities on the horizon or the guarantee of a seven-year contract, it was a pretty convincing offer.
One of the most appealing factors, though, was the chance to coach running back Christian McCaffrey, and on Wednesday CMC got the chance to meet his new head coach. As busy as Rhule was meeting and greeting everyone in Charlotte, he made time to squeeze in the All-Pro superstar between events.
"He's in a whirlwind right now," McCaffrey said of Rhule's busy day. "When the time comes, I'm sure we'll get together. I'm so excited just to learn from him. Obviously, he's taken so many programs from being super low to super high, and I'm excited to help in that transition."
McCaffrey, like most of his teammates, was away on vacation when the news broke Tuesday, and like everyone else, he found out on Twitter. He did a bit of research on Rhule, but he quickly found out he wouldn't have to seek out information on his new head coach – plenty of it would be delivered right to him.
"I never reached out to anybody about him, but I can't tell you how many people reached out to me about him. I think that says something about the kind of guy he is, the kind of coach he is," McCaffrey said. "I had Baylor players reach out to me and say, 'You're getting a hell of a coach.' I think that just shows that he's had such an impact wherever he's been."
One of the things he did find out about Rhule during his limited research, though, was his unique wardrobe. McCaffrey made a concerted effort to step up his pre- and post-game fashion this year, and as far as he's concerned, Rhule's smock is CMC-approved.
"I love it, man, I love it. He might be a little toasty during camp, but I love it," McCaffrey said. "He's got his own little swag. A lot of coaches have that, but I've never seen the smock. My mom actually pointed it out to me yesterday when we were talking on the phone and I didn't know what a smock was.
"She was like, 'He's got like a signature smock,' I asked, 'What's a smock?' then I started Googling the pictures and I'd honestly never seen one of those before, but I can respect his swag."
Rhule has made it clear the smock is retired, so McCaffrey and the Panthers will have to wait and see what Rhule's signature wardrobe will look like in Carolina, and they'll also have to wait for his first chance to address the entire team. While McCaffrey's teammates may not be around the stadium and interacting with their new coach face-to-face, he said he isn't the only one excited about the new hire.
"Everybody's all in, as far as I know," McCaffrey said. "Every guy I've talked to, we're very excited to have him. It was such an interesting year last year, I think we were just excited when all that stuff happened just to find out who the coach was going to be. We're all hands on deck and really excited for an opportunity to learn from him and play for him."