A new era began for Baylor football on Dec. 7, 2016, as Matt Rhule (pronounced RULE) was introduced as the 27th head coach to lead the Bears program.
Rhule, a 20-year coaching veteran, arrived in Waco fresh off leading Temple to the 2016 American Athletic Conference championship. He guided the Owls to the school's first-ever back-to-back 10-win seasons and bowl berths in 2015 and 2016, and a two-year 14-2 record in AAC play. He spent four seasons as head coach at Temple and 10 total seasons at the school.
The Owls earned their first top 25 ranking in 36 seasons under Rhule's guidance (in 2015) and among the 29 All-AAC honorees produced by Temple in his four seasons as head coach was 2015 Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy winner and two-time All-American Tyler Matakevich. Rhule also mentored 10 players invited to the Senior Bowl as a head coach, and had 70 players earn Academic All-AAC honors in his first three seasons.
Rhule led Temple to the 2016 AAC championship with a 34-10 victory over Navy in the title game and earned a bid to the Military Bowl. Nine players from the 10-3 squad received All-AAC honors and the Owl defense ranked third nationally allowing just 275.9 yards per game.
In 2015 Temple won the AAC East and played in the league's inaugural championship game. Rhule's Owls finished with a school-record 10 wins (10-4) and played in the Boca Raton Bowl. Thirteen of his players earned all-conference honors, led by consensus All-American and AAC Defensive Player of the Year Matakevich. Temple defeated Penn State for the first time in 73 years and climbed to No. 22 in the AP Top 25 poll.
Temple's win total improved to six (and a .500 record) in 2014 from two in Rhule's first season at the helm in 2013. The Owls allowed just 23 fourth quarter points all season in 2014.
Rhule returned to Temple after coaching with the New York Giants under head coach Tom Coughlin in 2012. He worked closely with Pat Flaherty in coaching the offensive line. The Giants finished 9-7 and averaged 335 yards on offense. Offensive guard Chris Snee earned 2012 Pro Bowl honors.
Prior to his stint in the NFL, Rhule spent six seasons as a top assistant under Al Golden in his first tenure at Temple, the final four seasons directing the offense in coordinator capacities.