Geoff Collins: Matt Rhule told me about the Temple program for 4 years

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday December 19, 2016


Geoff Collins’ name wasn’t brought up much in early lists of potential Temple head coaching candidates, but it was a behind-the-scenes relationship with Matt Rhule that played a big part in landing the job.

Collins and Rhule coached together at Albright College (PA) in 1998 and at Western Carolina from 2002-05. Collins has spent most of his career in the South, but he had a knowledge of the Temple program through his constant conversations with Rhule.

“He and I are very close. He’s spoken to me a lot over the last four years about the place, the players, the administration,” Collins said on SiriusXM College Sports Nation. “It was just a perfect fit to move to Broad Street, and my wife and I are excited about making the move.”

So while Collins is moving a long distance and taking over a different type of program, Collins feels he already had an intimate knowledge of it when he got to the interview.

I’ve been fortunate that over the last four years, I’ve helped Matt with key decisions within the program, philosophy shifts at different times, I’ve been a sounding board for him. Throughout my career, he’s been a sounding board for me,” Collins said. “I had an intimate knowledge about the program, about the players, the administration. Then you meet those people in person in the interview process, and this really is a great opportunity for me to be the head coach and continue where they’ve left off.

“Back-to-back East champs, winning the conference championship. The places I’ve been, working with Coach Saban, working for Jim McElwain the last four years, adding that flair to give us an edge at Temple is going to be a great fit.”

It’s the first head coaching job for Collins, and that’s always an adjustment, but Collins believes his work under George O’Leary, Nick Saban, Dan Mullen and Jim McElwain have taught him it’s more than just X’s and O’s. That carried over in different defensive coordinator jobs.

“The success I’ve had as a defensive coordinator really hasn’t been about scheme,” he said. “You watch our defenses as Mississippi State for four years, your watch our defenses at Florida for the last two, schematically and technically, they couldn’t be further apart. But the constant is the culture and the philosophy, playing disciplined, playing football, having juice, having energy, playing together, holding kids accountable for the way they play.

“You can see, wherever I’ve been, that has been the calling card. Take away scheme, take away those kind of things, the culture transcends either side of the ball. That’s what it’s about. Taking that to north Philly is going to be a great deal.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.