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Matt Rhule did not have a successful NFL tenure. He signed a seven-year contract with the Carolina Panthers but didn’t survive four before the team fired him. Rhule won just 11 of the 38 games that he coached. Despite the poor record, Nebraska hired him to return to the college game.
Rhule had a lot more success in college prior to his NFL jump. He led Temple to back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2015 and 2016. Then, Baylor hired him to rebuild the program following the Art Briles scandal.
The team won just one game in Rhule’s first season, but it won seven games in year two and in his third season he returned the school to prominence, collecting 11 victories.
That successful season got him the job in Carolina. But things never went well at the professional level.
Matt Rhule determined to turn Nebraska football around following disastrous tenure in NFL with Carolina Panthers
Yet, Rhule says he learned a lot from his tenure with the Panthers is confident that he won’t fail at Nebraska.
“Going through the fire in Carolina was a purifying fire that melts away all the impurities, all the hubris, all the worrying about stuff that doesn’t matter,” Rhule said in an interview with ESPN’s Pete Thamel.
“I learned very much to worry about what matters. I have a focus and a desire in me … I watched what my kids had to go through in Carolina, and we’re not going to let ’em go through that here.”
Presumably, he means that his kids probably weren’t very popular in school because of their father’s poor performance. One can surmise he plans to be much more successful in this job, thus providing his kids a more welcoming social environment.
If Rhule does manage to turn around the Nebraska program, his kids are going to be just fine.
A former national powerhouse that won three National Championships (1994, ’95, ’97) in four seasons, Nebraska’s biggest bowl wins this century are probably three Alamo Bowl victories. Perrhaps the two Gator Bowl victories.
As mentioned, though, Rhule has experience turning around programs. Temple had one 10-win season in its history prior to Rhule. He led them to back-to-back such seasons.
Baylor was in shambles at the time of his arrival. He got them back into the national picture in relatively short order.
It’s time to see if he can do it again in Lincoln.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on X – formerly known as Twitter: @RealDanZak