Giving “Matt” a Contract Extension Would be Insane

matt rhule, temple football,

Howard Smith-USA Today Sports

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, Temple University giving a contract extension to third-year head football coach Matt Rhule would certainly come under that rather large umbrella. Temple, in the past, has extended non-winning coaches like Jerry Berndt, Ron Dickerson and Bobby Wallace and those extensions have set the program back at least 30 years.

Granted, the man has endeared himself to many influential alumni with his effusive personality and perceived commitment to his job. He has also been a very good recruiter. One important item on his resume is lacking: A winning season. Until then, the Board of Trustees would be wise to refrain from offering him a contract extension. It is believed that Rhule signed a five-year deal in December of 2012 that gave him a $1.2-million per season.

If so, he is being handsomely paid to go 2-10 and 6-6. Lately, some Temple people—maybe overly impressed by two consecutive No. 4-ranked recruiting classes in an 11-team American Athletic Conference—clamored for an extension. One post on a fan website made by a Philadelphia tavern owner who may have been sampling too much of his own product was entitled: “This kid Matt Rhule” and was particularly amusing because he wrote that Rhule was getting it done with no stadium and the worst facilities in the entire conference. … “if this admin (administration) isn’t staying up late to extend him, I hope he takes one of the many offers on his table.”

On that website, the editor there does not refer to him as Rhule or as the Temple head football coach but only by “Matt.” It’s almost like David Muir on the ABC Evening News saying, “after this message, we will have some excerpts from Barrack’s press conference.” Or Walter Cronkite back in the day saying, “here’s what Lyndon had to say about the Selma march.”

First of all, Rhule currently is 8-16 with the best, not the worst, facilities in the entire conference. In 2014, Temple added a $10 million wing to its already existing $7 million football practice facility. The school bent over backward to refurbish a $4.2-million building three blocks away for a football-dedicated indoor practice facility. (Other sports use it, but football gets first dibs.) Bruce Arians almost passed out when he saw the lay of the land last year. Temple plays in a $521 million stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, which is, by about $400 million, the most expensive stadium in the AAC. Many of these so-called great recruits Rhule was able to attract have gone on record as saying that being able to play in the same stadium the Philadelphia Eagles play sealed the deal.

Second, there are no offers on the table for an 8-16 coach who has on his resume a loss to 2013’s worst FBS team, Idaho, and an FCS team, Fordham, which in the same season lost to a horrid Lafayette program located 40 miles directly north of Philadelphia. I can just picture the Notre Dame President, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, saying, “geez, if Brian Kelly leaves for the NFL, let’s get this Matt Rhule guy from Temple.” Or not.

Third, giving an extension to a non-Power 5 coach makes no sense. If the guy wants to leave before the contract is up, he’s going to leave for a Power 5 job. That’s what happened to Temple when Al Golden left for Miami. It’s what is going to happen to any Group of 5 school. No G5 coach has ever said they cannot leave their job for an SEC or Big 10 job because they already have an existing contract.

If Temple finally makes a decision for a long-term commitment to Rhule, it should be after at least one winning season and probably two but not before. Anything less is just bad business at best and pure insanity at worst.


25 thoughts on “Giving “Matt” a Contract Extension Would be Insane

  1. None of this is to mention the coach whose contract they didn’t renew, Bruce Arians. However in all fairness let’s give Matt Rhule another two seasons to determine his long term fate. I’d like to see what he can do with his recruits contributing in his system.

    I’d also like to see an incentive-laden contract where he gets $500k if he beats PSU or a top-10 team and posts a winning season.

  2. I agree. However, extending him would be insane. Just what has he done? A 2-10 season where he should have been 6-6 and a 6-6 season where he should have been 7-5. Heck, those are wallace/dickerson/berndt types of deals and berndt at least went 7-4.

  3. His first season was nothing short of brutal and frankly one of the worst HC jobs I’ve ever seen. I thought last year the team made progress and while I was calling for Snow’s head after his first year with the Owls was really impressed with his work last year.

    I think the Owls got some breaks in beating a top-25 program but hey…they still won. I don’t think the Owls had anything approaching the stench they generated in some of the games during Rhule’s first year so that’s a measure of progress. I also think this season is a real bellwether for this staff. Rhule’s got plenty of returning players and some solid recruits. He’s also got a very talented QB who regressed from his Freshman season and a highly suspect O-line that even with another year of experience still may not engender confidence from the QB.

    We also have some real needs on special teams including identifying a legitimate threat on punts and kickoffs who isn’t in danger of putting the ball on the ground at any given time. Combine all this with some very tough out of conference games and these guys have their work cut out.

    My final thought is that he doesn’t carry the sleaze or desperation of the coaches you mentioned above and that, from a university’s integrity perspective, definitely counts for something.

    Go Owls!

  4. The “progress” from the first to the second season is nullified by the fact that both those seasons, especially the first, should have been better. As Mike points out, a couple of those losses were nothing short of inexcusable but some people apparently have excused him and conveniently forgotten that terrible season – first year or not, he managed one of the worst seasons in Temple football history (Bobby Wallace has the record). So after a better but not great second season there’s talk of an extension?! The coach at Memphis deserves an extension. Matt Rhule still has a lot to prove. And if he has better offers and doesn’t get an extension with even more money, let him go. It would give Temple another chance to get a truly experienced Div 1 coach with winning credentials – and there’s some out there that would jump at 1.2 Million a year. I say, let’s see the goods before forking over more on what is still a questionable investment. Yes Matt, you joked about asking the AD for a 10 or 20 year contract when you were hired – still pushing, huh? Prove you’re worth it, you know, within your contract time in the next couple seasons, and everyone will then accept it with open arms.

  5. Oh and btw, I’m tired of hearing that Temple’s win over ECU was mostly because of the weather. Temple was playing in the same weather conditions and, for once, put together a really solid game plan and managed the clock well – that’s why they won.

    • Agree with you about the ECU game, hey they were the ranked team coming into that game and didn’t play like it.

    • and used a fullback.

    • The weather played a large role in that game as it did in UConn’s win over CFU the same day. ECU’s kids were huddled under the stands by the air blowers. Also, their fumbling that day was all because of the weather.

      • ECU game was the “perfect storm” of a team built for a fast track (ECU) against a team that for one game found its historical identity (use of fullback, run the ball, tough defense). Hard for me to believe that on a 60-degree sunny day Temple comes within two touchdowns of that team. Shane Carden and his WRs were built for a dry ball. Ask North Carolina, which allowed 70 points on 60-degree day to ECU.

    • I thought our game plan in the ECU game was brilliant. Let our offense run its regular three plays and then punt plan. That way we didn’t have the ball long enough for the weather to bother our play making. Meanwhile, ECU tried to run their offense, leading to longer possessions and a greater likelihood of a disastrous turnover. I think we really outcoached them.

      • brilliantly written, Phil. 🙂 love it!!

      • Exactly right. The guy who said the weather didn’t matter didn’t watch the game and did not see ECU commit unforced error after unforced error. ECU went from high seventies-low eighties to 45 with rain and a stiff wind. They did not want to play and were intimidated by the conditions. . Granted, although the Owls’ D made the situation worse by smacking them and taking advantage of their mistakes, they were greatly aided by the weather.

  6. Mike, your comment about the person who started that post “may have been sampling his own product” now puts that hilarious thread in a more sensible light. All I know is I couldn’t stop laughing at his premise and the comments of another funny poster over there, just use his screen name initials, TTO, who feels that number of wins is not an important way to judge a program.
    Well this will be Rhule’s 3rd year and to me from this point forward wins have to be one of the primary ways, not the only to be sure, to judge his performance. But then again a lot of those folks are already saying how tough the 2015 schedule is, so I guess the excuses will never stop.

    I do agree with the comments here, let’s see how the next 2 seasons shake out, I would expect a winning season at a minimum for 2015 and at least a real run for a conference title by 2016. Then let’s talk about contract extension. I do agree he does present a good image for the university, does seem to really want to be HC here but the bottom line is there needs to be real progress this season, not the somewhat “false” progress from 2013 to 2014.

  7. “Let’s see how the next two season go”…as if we have a choice. Frankly, Rhule wasn’t handed an empty basket when Daz left. His choice to keep Satterfield is unnerving at best, and sets precident for the next two years beyond whatever recruiting we can do. I fully admit it takes time to build a program, but first first season set us back. Maybe it’s me, but I fail to see this great improvement from year one year to year two and we all sat at the same games.

    Whether or not they managed the clock well, called the right plays, used the right players, or mother nature lended us a leg up the fact remains we were not able to repeat the ECU result. Prior losses made that win all the more puzzling.

    I’d like to see consistency in winning/scoring, incremental improvement on the field, and better adaptability during game time. Follow that up with two winning season and some big name wins and an extension should be on the table.

    • the offensive approach last year was a complete disaster. the ironic thing is that our best hope for success was the old BP model Golden used with an offensive coordinator named Matt Rhule. Stick Kenny Harper in at fullback, run Jahad Thomas behind him at tailback and throw off play-action to generate wide-receiver separation. what we did was about as far from that model as possible (empty backfield, no qb protection and no wr separation). that paid professionals did not see that “process” was doomed to failure has me really, really concerned. I hope the new Atlanta Falcons’ guy comes in and looks at our film and say, “excuse me, what the f*ck were you guys trying to do last year?”

  8. Actually I watched every minute of the ECU game, Mr. Belli, and I saw a different game plan used (that as Mike has pointed out repeatedly was abandoned again) that was working nicely. Weather always affects play, I didn’t mean to imply that it doesn’t. But like I said temple was playing on the same field in the same weather and wasn’t hunkering under the stands next to the blowers not wanting to play. All I’m saying is that there was a lot more to that win than just the weather including motivation and being ready to play – that’s largely on the coaches and temple did a better job that day. And fast phil, you’re sarcasm is appreciated (pretty funny actually), but c’mon guys, give a little credit where credit is due sometimes – Rhule coached a good game in that one game.

    • You are truly delusional. From the box score: First downs: TU 10-ECU 30; rushing ECU 261-TU 83; yards passing ECU 217-TU 70; total yards ECU 428-TU 135; fumbles lost ECU 5 TU 0. Yea, TU really took it to them. By the way TU had four fumbles but luckily didn’t lose any. ECU lost 5 of 8, most of which were unforced.

  9. Jon Jager u r on the wrong site if u think Rhule is gonna get any credit for anything on here. lol. how about this one….lets say Rhule had his team better prepared to deal with the weather for the ECU game. lets see if that one sticks.

    • It has nothing to do with Rhule or whether or not TU was the better team that day. My comment went solely to his downplaying of the effect the weather had on ECU. The weather was the primary reason ECU lost and TU won as the stats clearly show. And as far as Rhule goes, many on this site have given him credit when credit is due. He will get more when he consistently wins games he should win and one or two the odds say he shouldn’t. The best that can be said about the ECU game is that ECU lost the game rather than that TU did anything spectacular other than not losing any of their four fumbles. The offense was horrible and ECU went up and down the field that day. Five lost fumbles will cause any team to lose and they were primarily caused by the weather. Finally, the only reason TU may have been better prepared for the weather was because they practiced in colder weather than ECU. I saw nothing indicating that Rhule had them practicing while being sprayed by hoses in a wind tunnel. He did nothing more than show up with his team.

  10. I guess what you’re saying John is that ECUs players are a bunch of pussies if some cold weather effects them that badly. Teams from Florida, across the Gulf and from southern CA don’t fall apart because they play in a cold situation “they’re not used to.” What I will give you is that ECU simply had a very bad day on the field – happens to the best of them.

  11. And btw, I’ve been plenty critical of Rhule on many of my posts and I’m plenty frustrated as a long-time fan too. So, otherJD, I’m not on the wrong site, just a little tired of almost total refusal for some credit. And John I’m not arguing with those statistics, Temple was pretty lucky. But this ECU/weather thing sure touched a nerve. For a good team to be that unprepared for some lousy weather means they shouldn’t play any games above the Mason-Dixon Line.

    • It’s a fact that the weather affects southern teams if they haven’t had time to prepare for it as is the case for northern teams and the heat when they have to play in Florida late in the season.. For years the Tampa Bay Bucs never won a game when the temperature was below forty degrees and the California teams would regularly beat the Big Ten teams in the Rose Bowl because they were not used to the heat. Had UConn not beat CFU the same day TU beat ECU there might be a point to the argument that the weather played a small role in the win. Add the eight fumbles to the equation, it was the weather all the way.

      • To say temple did nothing more then show up to win that game is totally discrediting the players and yes the coach. Stats dont always tell the story. Yes the weather was bad. But BOTH teams played in it. And temples D gave up yards but if you watched the game they were stout in the redzone. And Rhule also ran the ball alot more that day and used a FULLBACK multiple times to block. Temple was the winner of that game bc the turnover battle. So eveey time a north team plays in the heat and temple loses were is the reverse of temple lost bc it was 90° out???? I think the weather excuse is just that an excuse for unbelievably temple ummm “fans”??? Its obvious most people commenting on this site hate Rhule and give him no credit at all for anything. There are a few who criticize him JUSTLY and think hes not the guy for the job. I have no issue with someones opinion. But to take away his credit in a huge win for the program. A bigger win then even AL Golden ever had here is a shame. Rhules first season was pathetic. Ill be the first to say that. But he was also a first year head coach for the first time in his career. There is some learning on the job that has to happen. He showed good progress in year 2. Going 6-6 and beating a sec team. Albeit a bad one. And gaining a top.25 victory. I am eager to see if the upward trajectory continues. As i think it will. But i have a feeling even if he has a winning season there will be reasons to still complain. We as fans dont hire the coaches. Yes i would have liked a tommy tuberville in philly as well or another est. Coach with a head coaching track record. But rhule has recruited very well IMO.His 6-6 season at a historicly bad program like it or not was i think if i counted correctly the 5th BEST RECORD IN THE LAST 25 YEARS AT TEMPLE!!!! This season he landed Two 4 star recruits and a juco.all.American. again thats small potatoes right. Name me a temple coach in he last 15 years who brought in 2 4 star recruits ill wait……it has never been done here. And no he has not yet put together a winning season. But this year i think he will and if he fails too ill be right along with the haters or anti rhule crowd saying its time to fire him. But it does take time to implement a new offense and rebuild a team coming of a losing season like rhule tool over, a program and university that has no prestige that can be used on the recruitment trail. and yes other coaches have had quicker success in lower rated programs like Memphis which keeps being mentioned, but also many other coaches have failed and been fired with much more talent then temple. Just look at USF in our conf. They should be a much better program. Great campus better weather. More fertile recruiting ground. And just a few years ago in the BE were ranked by the AP NUMBER 2 IN THE NATION FOR A SHORT TIME. So i say lets just focus on Temple football give the guy a fair shake and see what happens. And no im not one of these homers complaining and laying the ground work for excuses for Rhule about the schedule or the ND n PSU game (both of which are at home and will garner National media for Temple). With all these Starters coming back…what 17 of them and a .500 season. I expect nothing short of 8 wins as a successful season. Theres Plenty of talent now. Esp. With 4 freshman WRs coming of redshirts. If they are not good thats rhules fault he recruited them, call me crazy but i have faith and would not be shocked to see us playing in the inaugural AAC conf. Championship game. Go owls. Im done on this site sticking up.for Rhule. It just bothers me as does the over whelming support for his “outstanding coaching job on another unnamed TU site” Its def some where in the middle the job he has done so far. But the facts are he has the Team going in the right direction now. Theres momentum in our corner. Failure or success now is measured in W’s I unlike some do give the 3 year rule to coaches taking over losing teams and its year 3. Let the chips fall were the may. But as a DIEHARD temple fan..i hope he does well. This program needs a great coach getting a conference Championship at temple is not an easy job. As it hasnt been done since ive been ALIVE. HOPE I SEE ON BEFORE I GO!!!!

    • Totally agree with you 1000%. I am starting to question if the comments on this blog are from TU fans. Or are uconn or rutgers trolls!?!?!

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