The Carolina Panthers announced Matt Rhule as the franchise's fifth head coach in franchise history on January 8, 2020.
Rhule, 44, joins Carolina after three seasons (2017-19) as the head coach at Baylor University. Rhule helped rebuild the Baylor program, guiding the team from a 1-11 finish in his first season to a 7-6 record and a bowl berth in 2018 to an 11-3 record and appearance in the Big 12 Championship and the Sugar Bowl in 2019. This fall, he was voted the Chuck Neinas Coach of the Year by his peers.
His performance at Baylor continued a head coaching career that saw him turn around college programs' fortunes and guide teams to success. In his head coaching debut at Temple, (2013-16), Rhule took the Owls from a 2-10 mark in his first season to a 6-6 record in 2014 and two consecutive 10-win seasons in 2015 and 2016. Rhule has spent 22 years as a coach in the college and NFL ranks.
Baylor's appearance in the Sugar Bowl this season was just the second-ever in school history, and under Rhule's leadership the Bears became the first Power 5 program to go from 11 losses (2017) to 11 wins (2019) within two seasons.
Sixteen different 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, while Lynch, wide receiver Denzel Mims and defensive tackle Bravvion Roy were all named first team all-conference.
In 2018, Rhule led the Bears to a 45-38 Texas Bowl win over Vanderbilt, and seven total victories, a six-win improvement over his first season. Rhule was only the second coach in Baylor history to make bowl trips in two of his first three seasons, joining John Bridgers (1960-61). Baylor wide receiver Jalen Hurd was named the 2018 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and punter Drew Galitz was named first team coaches All-Big 12. Additionally, linebacker Clay Johnston and Lynch were both named to the coaches all-conference second team.
Since 2016, Rhule has had 11 players selected in the NFL Draft, including the 2017 first round pick of the Arizona Cardinals Haason Reddick and Hurd, a 2019 third round selection by San Francisco. A total of 33 players have earned NFL opportunities in Rhule's first six seasons as a head coach.
In his time as a coach and player, Rhule's teams have played in 10 bowl games, including four times as a head coach. In his first season at Baylor, quarterback Charlie Brewer was named the 2017 Big 12 Co-Offensive Freshman of the Year.
Rhule came to Baylor after four seasons as head coach at Temple University. He guided the Owls to the school's first back-to-back 10-win seasons, a pair of bowl berths (2015-16), and the 2016 American Athletic Conference championship. He helped the Owls improve from a two-win season in his first year at the school in 2013.
The Owls earned their first top 25 ranking in 36 seasons under Rhule's guidance in 2015 and among the 29 all-conference honorees produced by Temple in his four seasons as head coach was 2015 Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy winner and two-time All-American Tyler Matakevich.
Rhule led Temple to the 2016 AAC championship with a 34-10 victory over Navy in the title game and earned a bid to the Military Bowl. Nine players from that 10-3 squad received All-AAC honors and the Owl defense ranked third nationally allowing just 275.9 yards per game.
In 2015, Temple played in the AAC's inaugural championship game. Rhule's Owls finished with a school-record 10 wins (10-4), reached No. 22 in the AP Top 25 and played in the Boca Raton Bowl. Thirteen players earned all-conference honors, led by consensus All-American and AAC Defensive Player of the Year Matakevich.
Rhule returned to Temple after coaching with the New York Giants under head coach Tom Coughlin in 2012. He worked closely with Pat Flaherty in coaching the offensive line. The Giants finished 9-7 and averaged 335 yards on offense, with offensive guard Chris Snee earning 2012 Pro Bowl honors.
Prior to his stint in the NFL, Rhule spent six seasons as an assistant at Temple under head coaches Al Golden and Steve Addazio. He spent four seasons as offensive coordinator from 2008-11, coached quarterbacks and served as recruiting coordinator in 2007, and mentored the defensive line in 2006.
From 2002-05, Rhule was an assistant at Western Carolina, serving as assistant head coach during his last three seasons. He also was part of the staffs at UCLA (2001), Buffalo (1999-2000) and Albright College (1998).
A native of New York City, Rhule played linebacker at Penn State from 1994-97. He holds a master's degree from Buffalo. Rhule and his wife Julie have three children, Bryant, Vivienne and Leona.
Penn State - Linebacker - 1994-97
Albright - Linebackers - 1998
U. Buffalo - Defensive Line - 1999-2000
UCLA - Defensive Line - 2001
Western Carolina - Linebackers, Special Teams, Associate Head Coach - 2003-05
Temple - Defensive Line, Quarterbacks, Offensive Coordinator - 2006-11
New York Giants - Assistant Offensive Line - 2012
Temple - Head Coach - 2013-16
Baylor - Head Coach - 2017-19
Carolina Panthers - Head Coach - 2020-present