CHARLOTTE – As her husband was chatting with Panthers brass in their Waco home, Julie Rhule was listening in and observing.
And when she and Matt got a moment alone, she let him know how she felt.
"My 'aha' moment was when they left and she was like, 'What are you doing? You need to go work for them. That's you,'" Rhule said. "We've had lots of opportunities over the years in colleges and she's always been right. She's always been right. We've taken some jobs where people are like, 'Why are they going to Baylor?' She's always said, 'Go here because of those people.'"
Julie's gut has never steered them wrong. She knew Charlotte was where they needed to go.
Meanwhile, Dave Tepper and the Panthers had transitioned into recruiting mode, convinced Rhule was the man for the job.
"As the conversations were happening in the dining room – I was in the next room over – I could just tell from body language and the things they were talking about that he was connecting with them, and likewise," she said. "That's hard to find. We've been very blessed at the last two places (Baylor and Temple) to have that.
"I told him, 'This is your dream. You want to be in the NFL. These are people that I know you will jive with. You'll do great things.' I'm one of those people who goes off gut reactions, and I knew it was right."
To cement things even further, Rhule's son Bryant had a few words for his father after the interview. The Panthers hadn't yet made an offer when the 15-year-old wanted some answers.
"The second 'aha' moment was when my son came downstairs and he asked if we were going to Carolina and I said no, and he stormed out of the house," Rhule said. "He said, 'You had one job!' He wanted to be here."
Why did Bryant want to go to Carolina so badly?
"He was born here in Asheville," Julie said. "He spent 16 days in the NICU. We've driven through the state whenever we've had the chance and he's always just had a draw to Carolina. He just thought this would be a great place to live."
Everyone got their wish in the end.
And Julie is eager for Panthers fans to learn more about her husband, a proven winner and program builder whose ready for this NFL challenge.
"He's so genuine and caring. He works really, really hard. This is going to be so exciting," Julie said. "Only great things are to come."
View photos of new head coach Matt Rhule and his family as they depart Waco and begin their journey in Carolina.