Matt Rhule explains why he's hiring several Texas high school coaches

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday December 15, 2016


When Matt Rhule accepted the Baylor head coaching job, the first question was quickly: How will he adjust to Texas?

Rhule answered that this week by hiring three Texas high school coaches: Cedar Hill High School’s Joey McGuire, Round Rock Cedar Ridge High School’s Shawn Bell and San Antonio Ronald Reagan High School’s David Wetzel. Roles haven’t been specified, but at least Wetzel is expected to be in an off-field role.

Rhule explained the moves on Sportscenter on Thursday.

“First and foremost, coming into a new area, it’ll be a great fit,” he said. “I think coaches in Texas will appreciate our approach, the openness and access we want to have here. It was a natural fit that love Baylor, love Texas high school football.”

Not only are they experienced, but they're successful. McGuire has won three state championships in 14 years at Cedar Hill. Bell has spent the last seven years as a high school coach, including going 11-1 in his lone season at Cedar Ridge, and is a former Baylor quarterback. Wetzel spent the last 13 seasons at Reagan and was the sitting president of the Texas High School Football Coaches Association. He, too, is a former Baylor player.

That’s creating a huge tie to a vital part of Texas recruiting. Baylor still only has 1 commitment for its 2017 class, so there's a lot of ground to make up. Rhule also noted his own high school ties and repeated a comment from his introductory press conference.

“I’m the son of a high school coach. My uncle is in the Pennsylvania high school coaches hall of fame,” Rhule said. “Nobody does more for football and kids than high school football coaches.”

Rhule said the move to Waco has gone well and compared the environment to Penn State. Other coaches who are joining Rhule in Waco include Elijah Robinson, Mike Siravo and Francis Brown from Temple. Owl defensive coordinator Phil Snow is also expected to join Baylor.

That’s the group that makes up Tempe’s top-10 defense. But when it comes to recruiting, Rhule knows he needs to rebuild the school's relationships, coming out of the sexual assault scandal.

“If you’ve ever been to Penn State and State College, Waco is about the same place. It’s a great college town with lots of farm and country around it,” he said. “We’ve felt at home. The biggest thing is getting to know the people, the relationships you want to form here. We’ve had great ones in Philadelphia, and we hope to have great ones here as we move forward.”

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.