Matt Rhule officially said farewell to Temple with a full-page advertisement in Wednesday’s Inquirer.
“On behalf of Julie and our children, I want to express our sincere gratitude to Temple University the city of Philadelphia and Owls fans throughout the world,”the advertisement read. “The passion and pursuit of excellence at Temple allowed for our student-athletes to achieve success on the football field and to develop as young men off of the field. Temple and Philly will always be a part of us and we will be cheering on the Owls from afar.”
Around 2 p.m Eastern time, Rhule’s flight touched down in Waco, Texas. Three hours later, he strode to the podium at The Ferrell Center, home to Baylor University’s basketball and volleyball teams. He was wearing a green tie and pin on the lapel on his jacket, ready to be introduced as Baylor ’s new head football coach.
“If you’d allow me I’d like to thank the people of Philadelphia,” Rhule said during his introductory press conference. “I spent 10 years of my life there as an assistant and a head coach. All of the leadership, all the people in the athletic department. The students and fans, they were such a wonderful part of our lives.”
He also addressed his players for the first time publicly. He talked to them privately Tuesday morning.
“It was one of the hardest things I did yesterday to say goodbye, but I knew that our job was done there, our time was over,” Rhule said. “Those kids went from 2-10 to 6-6 to the winningest two-year stretch at Temple. They won a championship on Saturday, but they were champions before then.”
Rhule gave some insight into why he wanted to go to Baylor. Among other things, he mentioned the challenge of winning at the highest level.
“We want to win the Big 12 championship, we want to win the National Championship,” Rhule said. “I didn’t come here for anything else.”
In addition to Rhule, three members of the Owls’ staff are leaving for Baylor and more could follow. Associate Athletic Director and Chief of Staff Sean Padden Tweeted that he is joining Rhule at Temple. SourceMedia reported that Director of Player Personnel Evan Cooper will also join Rhule at Baylor. Houston Texans defensive lineman Devon Still tweeted that Defensive Run Game Coordinator and Defensive Line Coach Elijah Robinson is leaving Temple for Baylor as well.
The Inquirer reported on Wednesday that while Rhule will bring most of his defensive staff to Baylor, they are all expected to coach in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27. The university announced Assistant Head Coach Ed Foley, as the Owls’ interim head coach for the bowl game against Wake Forest University.
Evan Easterling and Owen McCue can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org