WRITTEN BY: TOM HANSLIN @tomhanslin
Update – Tuesday 4:45 PM
Temple athletic director Patrick Kraft spoke with the media at the Liacouras Center on Tuesday afternoon, discussing Temple football head coach Matt Rhule’s decision to leave the program for the same position at Baylor.
According to multiple sources, Rhule agreed to a seven-year deal with the Bears, and reportedly declined an offer from Oregon on Monday night before agreeing to terms with Baylor. Joining Rhule’s staff will also be Evan Cooper, Temple’s director of player personnel.
“I got a phone call from Matt this morning. It was very very fast,” Kraft said. “I thanked him for all he did for this program, and he left it in a better place, and I appreciate that.”
Kraft also confirmed reports that Temple assistant coach Ed Foley will serve as interim head coach for the Owls’ game against Wake Forest in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27. Foley has been with the program for nine seasons.
The search for a new head coach will not be rushed, according to Kraft, who believes it’s not a priority to have someone new in place before Temple’s bowl game.
“We’re going to make sure it’s a good fit, make sure the individual knows that Temple’s a unique and special place where we’re a fabric of an institution,” Kraft said. “It’s not the football program and everybody else. So you’ve got to get the right person. And so that’s going to be the biggest piece for us moving forward.
“We have great people here. This is a great job. This is a different job than what it was before, and we have proven that we can win here. We have proven that this is a program that can compete at the highest level.”
Original Post – Tuesday 1:07 PM
Temple football head coach Matt Rhule, who helped the Owls achieve back-to-back 10-win seasons and an American Athletic Conference championship, will be leaving the school to become the head coach of Baylor, according to multiple reports on Tuesday morning.
“I am truly honored and humbled to join the Baylor Family,” Rhule said in a statement issued by Baylor. “Baylor is a tremendous institution with a history of football success and I know the passion that so many have for the Bears will help bring the community together to reach even greater heights. I am excited to get started.”
Rhule, 41, will be replacing ex-Bears coach Art Briles, who was fired last May amid Baylor’s sexual assault scandal. Baylor (6-6), a member of the Big 12 conference, will play Boise State in the Cactus Bowl on Dec. 27 in Phoenix.
“When we set out on our search for a new leader of our football program, we wanted a coach who shared our values, who had demonstrated success, who showed a true commitment to the overall student-athlete and who we believed could lead Baylor to a national championship,” Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades said. “We found all of that and more in Matt, and I know that he will be a perfect fit with the Baylor Family.”
Rhule began his tenure at Temple in December 2012 when former coach Steve Addazio left Philadelphia for the same position at Boston College. In his first two seasons, Rhule increased the program’s win total from two in 2013 to six in 2014, and over the last two years, Temple has won 10 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history.
According to multiple sources not confirmed by the program, Owls assistant coach Ed Foley will reportedly serve as interim head coach for Temple’s matchup with Wake Forest at the Miltary Bowl in Annapolis, Md. on Dec. 27. The Owls’ program has scheduled an afternoon news conference.
This story is breaking, and will be updated when more information is released.