Transcript: Marty Hurney on the start of the Matt Rhule era


Re: On when he switched to recruiting mode during the interview.

"It's funny – you do a lot of research on guys, everybody, through this process before you go in the interviews, and you never find anybody that I talked to that said anything bad about him. Everything was all good about him. So, we go to the house. He's pulling up in his driveway from Mexico with his family. We pull right up behind, and we go in, we sit down at the table. We went about five and a half hours, but after about the first hour-and-a-half, you just figured it. This is a guy that has old school principles. Talks about running the ball, stopping the run. Then he's got all this modern-day knowledge with the sports science and making players better, and he had people skills. I had a big thing that said the most successful people have three things: intellect, common sense, and people skills – and he's three-for-three. He had the same vision. We talked about things, we talked about players, he's so easy to talk to. You can just tell we were on the same page through that whole five-and-a-half-hour interview. We had a meeting earlier today, and he was talking to some of the staff. I sat there thinking I feel like a bobble head, because every time he talks I'm just like nodding my head. He really has a lot of the same principles I do, and you can just tell. It's very obvious why he's been successful every place he's been."

Re: On Coach Rhule's proof of being able to adjust and rebuild programs.

"I think when you listen to him and you talk to him, you realize why he was able to turn those things around. He talked so much about process and just sticking to the task every day and very detailed oriented. You can tell he's a motivated. He's got great relationships. He develops relationships with his players, with his staff, with everybody. I think where he is in the community, and he knows what he wants. He knows what he wants, he knows what he doesn't want. So, here's very decisive. All those traits that go in to being successful, you can see them. Now you look back and you know why they had those records. He's a head ball coach. That's just in plain terms and old school terms – he's the head ball coach. He just loves the game and the energy that he brings. Sitting at the table – again, I can't stress: gets off the plane, goes in the driveway, comes in, sits in the dining room, and he's just instantly there. After an hour and a half, they're right, I just said oh man, we got to try to convince this guy that Carolina is the place for him, because he was just very impressive."

Re: On how different was this process compared to when he interviewed Jon Fox and Ron Rivera.

"I think it's the same in the sense that when you sit and you interview and it comes to you that it's the right guy, it's the right guy. Mike McCarthy and Eric Bieniemy are both really, really good. They were great interviews, and you left that interview and I felt like any one of these guys they can be our coach. You sat down with Matt, it's was the same feeling you get. He's just got it. It's just a feeling I can't describe. When you do it as long as I've done it, you sit down, you just get that feeling, and that's what I got."

Re: On if the interviews were held at the candidate's homes.

"Yes – well, Eric's (Bieniemy) was at a hotel near Kansas City because he was preparing, but Mike's (McCarthy) was there.

Re: On if it was important for Coach Rhule not to leave without an agreement.

"Again, it's kind of like I said, there's those certain interviews when you leave and you just get that feeling that hey, this is the guy, this is the guy. So, let's not go any further and try to get this done. Mr. Tepper and Steven (Drummond) were both on board. So, we worked immediately to try to get it done, and we got it. It was a feeling that all three of us had that you did get a feeling. Julie, his wife, was terrific. He's right, I ate about 20 meatballs (laughter), but it was just a great feeling. I think when you have that – and you can see by listening to him here. He's got such a vision, just a very shared vision. Sitting there – I spend a lot of time with a head coach talking things out. Basically during these interviews, I'd sit there and it's like I approach it like – we're in my office and we're talking about the team, and we're talking about things we have to work, and you have to work through a lot of hard things, and you have to be able to sit down and disagree. At the end, you got to be able to stay in the room until you get an agreement and walk out on the same page of what's best for the organization. It was very obvious that we could do that."

Re: On when he flipped into recruiting mode, what points he wanted to get across.

"I think the biggest thing was, hey, we sort of have an open canvas and that you can come in, and I've always – and I think if you ask John Fox, if you ask Ron Rivera, I've always been bought in to that a general manager and the head coach have to be partners, and you have to have a collaborative approach. You have to be able to disagree, because there's different angles that you look at from the personal side to the coaching side, but at the end of the day you have to have the same vision and agree. I think that the biggest thing I was pushing was that this is an organization that we all work together. We all can disagree, but at the end of the day we're going to come out with the decisions that we think make are best for the football team. I think he felt that, and I just think that through those five-and-a-half hours, I know I got up feeling like I really will be able to work with Matt, and hopefully he had the same feeling."

Re: On the biggest challenge for Coach Rhule coming from the collegiate ranks to the professional.

"You know what, that's funny, because that's a question you ask yourself before you go in to talk to him. After about an hour, he's the head ball coach, and he's going to figure out. He's a football coach, and he's going to relate to the players, he's going to do the things that he needs to do to be successful wherever he is. It's a very good question, because that's the obvious question when you're looking at a college coach. After you talk to Matt for an hour, and hour-and-a-half, you don't have that question."

*Re: On the possibility of Norv Turner remaining on the staff. *

"I've been giving Ryan (Anderson) a hard time all day because I haven't had time to really sit down. We've got a lot to go through, so we haven't sat down and really talked about any of that stuff, but we will starting today."

Re: On if he articulated his vision at quarterback to you and Mr. Tepper.

"No – again, that's something that we're going to have to sit down and talk about the whole time. We've got a guy that was MVP in the NFL, and he knows that. This is all going to be a process as far as how – he's going to have to know these guys, and get to know the roster, and everything that he said. It's a process day-to-day, but that's what I love about it. The thing about this job – you wake up every morning and you're excited to come in and get better. I think that's what's exciting right now. I'm anxious to get back and get all this stuff over with so we can sit down and begin the evaluation process."