The way it works in the business world is that a promotion or contract extension usually goes to the guy or gal who has proven to be an asset to the company with a history of proven results.
Anything else is called putting the cart before the horse. That’s why it’s extremely puzzling that the university would give a contract extension to a guy who has coached two years and has yet to produce a winning season or even secure one of the 76 bowl bids that go to the 126 FBS teams.
Temple could afford to wait for two important reasons. First, we do not know if this fine young man possesses the game day decision-making acumen that leads to winning football games. You do not give promotions and contract extensions to people for just being nice guys. If that were the case, a lot of guys pushing carts in super market lots would be CEOs of Shop Rite and Acme. Second, a contract extension buys Temple no security.
Unless the buyout is $8 million or more—and there is no reason to believe it is—any Power 5 team can break Temple’s contract with Rhule without a sweat.
Temple could afford to wait. The uni’s highly paid publicity staff tried to put lipstick on this pig with a slickly-worded press release yesterday but, if they were really honest, this is what they would have penned:
PHILADELPHIA (6/25/15) – Temple University announced today that it has extended the contract of head coach Matt Rhule for four years, which might or might not keep him as leader of the team through the 2021.
Rhule was hired to become the Owls’ 26th head coach on December 17, 2012, succeeding Steve Addazio and inheriting a team that went 4-7 in 2012. Despite returning 16 starters from a four-win team, Rhule turned that into a two-win team, which included arguably the three worst losses in Temple history—to an FCS team, Fordham, the worst FBS team in 25 years, Idaho, and to an 0-9 UConn team. Fordham would later get blown out by Lafayette.
That did not engender a whole lot of confidence for Owl fans for the 2014 season but the Owls finished the season with a 6-6 record, still not good enough to secure one of the 76 bowl berths that go to the 126 FBS teams. Despite a four-win improvement in one year, Rhule had the Owls in the bottom third of FBS teams. The Owls often called a puzzling parade of time outs in the opening portion of each half which left them without valuable timeouts at the end of each game.
In 2014, thanks to a Hurricane-like storm that took the sails out of an ECU Pirate ship that shot a full volley of 70 points into North Carolina, Rhule led the Owls to their first win over a ranked opponent since 1988. Still, Temple suffered a puzzling loss to a Navy team that got hammered by Western Kentucky for the second-straight year. The Owls were able to muster only two field goals against a Cincinnati team that gave 448 yards per game (102d nationally) and ranked 66th in the nation in scoring defense (27 ppg). That was a game the Owls had to win and a game in which the offense suffered a 60-minute malaise.
The Owls’ offense was ineffective, largely because the coaching staff gave sophomore quarterback P.J. Walker empty backfields on numerous third-down situations, making him a sitting duck for blitzing linebackers. Not surprisingly, the Owls finished last in the FBS in third-down efficiency (23.8 percent) and last in the AAC in rushing. Running the football historically been a Temple strongpoint with players like Paul Palmer, Brian Slade, Harold Harmon, Zach Dixon, Stacy Mack, Jason McKie, Bernard Pierce, Matty Brown and Montel Harris following the blocks of lead fullbacks through the hole (Shelley Poole, Nelson Herrera, Henry Hynoski, Mark Bright, Wyatt Benson and Kenny Harper).
With the addition of a fullback as an additional blocker at the point of attack to jump-start the running game (and give P.J. some needed pocket protection) and the recent reacquistion of wide receiver Robbie Anderson, the BOT is confident Matt can fix last year’s problems on offense and decided to jump the gun and give him a contract extension.