Nebraska announced it has hired former Baylor and Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule to be its next football coach.
Athletic director Trev Alberts will introduce Rhule, who received an eight-year contracon Monday in Lincoln.
Rhule spent two-plus seasons in Carolina, posting an 11-27 record, before being fired in October. Nebraska fired Scott Frost in September following a loss to Georgia Southern and is limping toward a second nine-loss season in a row.
“It is a tremendous honor to be chosen to lead the Nebraska Football program,” Rhule said in a statement. “When you think of great, tradition-rich programs in college football Nebraska is right at the top of the list.”
Rhule, 47, was widely seen as the top coaching candidate available on the open market thanks to his successful stints at Temple and Baylor, where he quickly led both programs from the bottom rung of the conference standings to some of the finest years in recent program history.
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At Temple, Rhule went from two wins in his 2013 debut season to six wins a year later and 10 wins in each of the following two years, capped by an American conference championship in 2016.
While his decision to leave for Baylor raised eyebrows given the fallout from the university’s sexual abuse scandal, leaving the program with a drastically depleted roster, Rhule’s teams went from one victory in 2017, to seven wins and a bowl victory in 2018, to a remarkable 11-win season and New Year’s Six bid in 2019.
His experience in rebuilding multiple Bowl Subdivision programs, strong reputation in the Texas recruiting circles and commitment to a physical playing style mesh well at Nebraska, which has bottomed out during the worst run in the program’s modern era.
“Coach Rhule has created a winning culture throughout his coaching career, and he will provide great leadership for the young men in our football program,” Alberts said in a statement. “Matt is detail-oriented, his teams are disciplined and play a physical brand of football. Matt also has the personality and relationship-building skills to build a great staff and excel in recruiting.”
Since firing Bo Pelini following the 2014 season, the Cornhuskers have posted just one winning season and have failed to reach bowl play since 2016, the longest active streak in the Power Five.
The Frost era began with immense promise but quickly deteriorated amid recruiting failures, baffling in-game coaching decisions and inadequate player development, leaving Rhule what may be a multiple-year rebuilding project.
While he’s never coached in the Big Ten, Rhule was a linebacker under Joe Paterno at Penn State from 1994-97 and spent the 1998 season as one of the Nittany Lions’ graduate assistants.
Story Credit: usatoday.com