Temple Football received a startling blow this morning.
Three days after his team beat #19 Navy and claimed the AAC Championship, news broke this morning that Head Coach Matt Rhule had accepted a head coaching job at Baylor University. He will be taking over a program riddled with controversy the team’s handling of sexual assault cases with its players. Last May, Baylor fired head coach Art Briles in wake of the sexual assault scandal.
The Baylor Bears went 6-6 this season under acting head coach Jim Grobe, but Grobe will step down after Baylor’s game against Boise State in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl in December 27th.
Rhule had a 28-23 record during his tenure and led the Owls to their first major conference title since 1967. The Owls have won 10 games in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history.
Rhule was at the helm of the program’s resurgent resurrection. The first year at the helm in 2013, Rhule’s team went 2-10, including a heartbreaking loss to Fordham on a last second heave. Rhule constantly refers to that game as one of the turning points for the program and its players. The Owls improved to 6-6 in 2014, and then made a monumental leap the next year. In 2015, Rhule led the team to a win over Penn State for the first time in 74 years, a near upset of #9 Notre Dame ABC’s primetime game of the week, and a 10-2 record and a birth in the conference title game.
This season the Owls had made some serious noise lately as they are currently riding a 7 game winning streak, which includes a AAC Championship win against then ranked #19 Navy Midshipmen. The Owls are ranked #24 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings.
Matt Rhule will not be coaching the Owls in their game against Wake Forest in the Military Bowl.
Temple assistant coach Ed Foley has been named the team’s interim head coach. Foley has coached at Temple for nine seasons and has held a variety of different positions. The interim coach has been the assistant head coach, tight ends coach, special teams cooridinator, Director of Football Operations, assistant offensive line coach, and a recruiting coordinator throughout his nine seasons. Foley has now endured three coaches in his tenure- as he was hired under Al Golden, around for Steve Addazio who left to accept a job with Boston College after two seasons, and of course Matt Rhule.
The Baylor Football website posted the following quote from Rhule, “I am truly honored and humbled to join the Baylor Family,” said Rhule, “and I can’t thank President Garland and Mack Rhoades enough for this incredible opportunity. Baylor is a tremendous institution with a history of football success and I know the passion that so many have for the Bears will help bring the community together to reach even greater heights. I am excited to get started.”
Director of Athletics Patrick M. Kraft spoke in front of the media at 1:30 this afternoon.
Kraft stated that “we have not gotten to that yet.” when he was asked if Rhule’s assistants would be going with him to Texas.
As far as the new head coaching search, Kraft gave no specific timetable.
“We are going to go out and get the best person for the job to continue this momentum.” said Kraft.
The Temple Football head coaching job is a more desirable job than it was four years ago when the Owls were among the worst in the college football. Patrick Kraft seemed excited during the press conference and willing to accept the challenge of finding a new coach. He wants to find the right person for the job more importantly and noted “this is not just an X’s and O’s job” as there are many factors to consider other than football.