Rhule formally takes over as Temple’s coach

From Joe Paterno to Tom Coughlin, Matt Rhule has been mentored
by some of the winningest coaches in football.

Now, Rhule gets a chance to apply all of it at Temple.

Rhule, 37, who will leave his post as assistant offensive line
coach with the Super Bowl-champion New York Giants to take over the
Owls, was formally introduced on Monday on campus, after agreeing
to a contract over the weekend. He has 15 seasons of coaching
experience, and is a former linebacker at Penn State.

He will replace Steve Addazio, who left Temple earlier this
month to take the same post at Boston College. Addazio was with the
Owls for just two years.

”We had a diverse and talented pool of candidates and an
overwhelming amount of interest, but one person distinguished
himself from the rest – Matt Rhule,” Temple athletic director Bill
Bradshaw said. ”Matt is the perfect person to take Temple Football
to the next level.”

The Owls are coming off a 4-7 season, in which they went 2-5 in
the Big East.

Rhule is the third coach at Temple in the last four years,
joining Addazio and Al Golden, who left for Miami. It is Rhule’s
second stint at Temple, after serving as an assistant for both of
those previous coaches.

”One of the emphases in my mind is really watch a kid play and
how he develops,” Rhule said. ”Give kids an opportunity to
develop.”

The Owls, searching for a lasting identity in football, would
love to see that. A year after winning the New Mexico Bowl – 37-15
over Wyoming in Addazio’s debut season – they took a significant
step back this year.

”Matt is a good, young coach. He has very good command, and is
thorough and detailed in his assignments and with personnel,”
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. ”He has an outstanding background
in the game, and the players like and respect him. He will be a
great representative for Temple.”

Rhule – who will finish the season with New York, a team that
will advance to the NFC postseason with wins in its final two games
– applied for the Temple position when Golden left to take the job
at Miami, and lost out to Addazio.

The second time, though, was a charm.

”I want to thank Bill Bradshaw for giving me this opportunity,
he turned me down two years ago, and he was right two years ago, I
wasn’t ready then, but I’m ready now,” Rhule said. ”The great
thing about what Coach (Addazio) did, was he kept the
infrastructure we built under Al (Golden) with the coaches that had
been here. Steve didn’t wipe it all out.

”Then I worked for Tom Coughlin, and I don’t think you do what
he did at Boston College, and do what he’s done at both
Jacksonville and the New York Giants, without having a system. He’s
unflappable. He doesn’t ever show weakness. I watched that for a
year. I’ve been trying to build for this job for a long time.”

And now, the time is here. But this will not be an easy
task.

The Owls had an anemic offense this season, finishing 107th
overall and with a 322-yard average. They lost five of their last
six games, with only a 63-32 win over Army to show for the final
month of the season.

”From the minute that he stepped foot here and became our
assistant, you could tell he was a guy that was passionate about
football,” Giants tackle David Diehl said. ”He loves the game; he
loves being around it. He’s a guy who brings that energy each and
every day.”

Rhule stressed that his recruiting message will center be on how
long he plans to stay at Temple.

”I’m going to tell a recruit, if it’s within my power, I’m
going to be here as your head football coach when you graduate,”
Rhule said. ”That’s what we’re looking for.”

Of course, where Rhule’s Owls will play long term is a bit of an
unknown. Temple returned to the Big East this season after a stay
in the Mid-American Conference. With the embattled Big East still
in shuffle mode, who knows where the Owls might land in the
future.

Either way, though, it appears Rhule will be with them every
step of the way.