Should we be shocked that Matt Rhule is heading to Baylor after leading Temple to the AAC Championship over Navy? Probably not. Most coaches do this sort of thing, and nobody really bats an eye towards it. But this just feels differently, if not for the words Rhule spoke almost one year ago to the day, saying he would rather coach the players he had on his Temple squad than sell his soul for $4 million.
In an interview with WIP last December, Rhule said he planned on being the head coach at Temple for a long time.
“So a lot of things of being said about me that really aren’t even true,” Rhule said. “People think I’m meeting with these people and really I’m sitting in my office working. But I absolutely plan on being here. I don’t ever promise anything. The Edmonton Eskimos could call me and maybe that’s the right thing for me and my family, but my family loves Temple and we love Philadelphia. And I’ll just tell you this, I plan on being here and I plan on being here for a long time because I am honored and privileged to coach these kids and they’re great kids.
“My team knows how I feel about them and I want to be their coach, be their coach not just this week but next year as well.”
“What man in the world can say this is what I’m gonna be doing next year?” Rhule continued. “I’m certainly not gonna be one of those coaches who says something and doesn’t do it. I plan on being here, I hope to be here, I think Temple wants me here, and I’m not meeting with anybody right now. If the Raiders call me, if the Cowboys call me, I don’t know if I’ll meet with them, but I’m not gonna make that decision right now.”
The situation is certainly weighing heavily on Rhule and his family.
“This is hard man,” Rhule admitted. “This is really, really hard. People start coming to your door and say hey, ‘I got four million dollars.’ But you know what, I’d rather coach Temple’s kids. I love these kids. I’d rather coach here and coach Temple’s kids then just sell my soul for four million dollars. That is the truth and that’s as honest and open as I can be with you guys.”
Rhule says he doesn’t ever promise anything – presumably because he knows how fast the landscape of college football, and probably life in general, can change – but he does say that he doesn’t know what he’d do a year from ‘now’ [which was last December], so he’s not exactly a man who doesn’t live up to his word. Who knows what he told his players this season or at the end of the season, but there’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that Rhule would be a hot commodity on the coaching market for big college programs. Baylor is just that.
Money talks, people. Money always talks.