Matt Rhule: 'When I walked in, all the Temple players stood up...'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday December 14, 2016


It’s always an emotional situation when a coach informs his players he’s leaving for another job, but what Matt Rhule saw at Temple keeps him optimistic about what’s next for the Owls.

Florida defensive coordinator Geoff Collins is the new head coach at Temple. Collins and Rhule have coached together at multiple stops and remain friends. Last week, Rhule joined 97.5 The Fanatic in Philly and explained what it was like telling his team he was going to Baylor.

“I knew it was going to be hard. That was the only thing that I really cared about, that I told them, that they didn’t learn about it on social media,” Rhule said. “Rumors had been flying about me going to Oregon. I called the team meeting. Just before I walked in, it broke. So when I walked in, all the kids knew it. I knew it was going to be hard.

When I walked in, all the kids stood up, the way they did the whole time I was head coach. I was just taken aback. I wasn’t going to be their head coach anymore, but they still showed me that love and respect. It was so, so powerful. When I told them what’s happening, they gave me a standing ovation. That was hard. But a lot of kids got it.”

Rhule admitted he teared up just re-telling the story. He is the third straight Temple head coach to leave for a Power 5 job, after Al Golden went to Miami and Steve Addazio went to Boston College.

“I think a lot of kids were upset because they wanted to play for me. But Temple won under Al Golden, Temple won under Steve Addazio, Temple won under Matt Rhule. Not because of the coaches. Temple won because of Temple and those players. Those kids wished me well. Those kids were reaching out to kids at Baylor saying, ‘You’re going to love Coach Rhule.’ They’ll be my players for life. I love them.”

The Owls have won 10 games in two straight years for the first time in school history. Each coach built on the next, and Rhule believes Collins can keep that going.

“The power and ability for Temple to do something powerful in football and basketball is there,” he said. “There’s so many great players in the area. I really think we left it in a position where it’ built to last. They’ll hire a great coach, and I’m excited about the future.”

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.