Get to know NY Giants head coaching candidate Matt Rhule

(Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Weast/Getty Images) /
Giants head coaching candidate Matt Rhule
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The NY Giants are prepared to embark on an expansive search for a new head coach and Matt Rhule is a top candidate for the position.

Baylor University head coach Matt Rhule appeared as a prime candidate for a potential head coaching vacancy long before the NY Giants announced that they were parting ways with Pat Shurmur. However, since the announcement that New York would be moving on from Shurmur, reports have surfaced that Rhule is the top choice to replace him.

Matt Rhule was a college linebacker for Penn State University from 1994-1997. Immediately following his college playing career, Rhule would go into the coaching realm as a linebackers coach for Albright in 1998. He would spend the next two years as the defensive line coach for the University of Buffalo before going to UCLA in 2001 to take over the same role with the Bruins.

In 2002, Rhule would become the linebackers and special teams coach for Western Carolina. One year later he would be promoted to assistant head coach with the team, in addition to serving in his role as linebackers and special teams coach. Rhule would serve in that role until 2005.

In 2006, Rhule would go to Temple University, where he would serve as the defensive line coach. In 2007, he would serve in the role of quarterbacks coach and receivers coach for the Owls. From 2008-2010 he would serve as the offensive coordinator for Temple.

In 2012 he would leave Temple for his first job in the NFL, serving as the assistant offensive line coach for the New York Giants under then-head coach Tom Coughlin. During his year with the Giants he worked with legendary Giants linemen such as David Diehl and Chris Snee.

Following his one season with the NY Giants, Rhule would return to Temple University, this time as the head coach, where he would serve from 2013-2016. The Owls would have a 2-10 record in Rhule’s first season as head coach but would improve to 6-6 the following year and 10-4 in 2015.

That 10-4 record in 2015 included a marquee win against Rhule’s alma mater Penn State, something the Owls had not accomplished since 1941. In 2016 Temple would improve to 10-3, resulting in their second consecutive bowl appearance. However, Rhule would agree to become the head coach of Baylor University prior to the bowl game.

Rhule would take over as the Baylor Bears head coach for the 2017 season, following the dismissal of Art Briles as head coach after a massive sexual assault scandal rocked the program. Baylor would go 1-11 in Rhule’s first year at head coach, failing to become bowl eligible for the first time in almost a decade.

However, the team would go 6-6 in Rhule’s second year and would receive an invite to the Texas Bowl. The Bears would defeat Vanderbilt in the game and as a result, would have a 7-6 winning record on the year.

This season, Rhule led the program back to prominence, as Baylor would go 11-2 in the regular season, finishing second in the Big 12 conference and securing a Sugar Bowl invite against the University of Georgia.

Matt Rhule has shown the propensity to lead programs out of dire straights and into relevance. His players have touted him as a players coach who unquestionably has their backs at all times. In addition, Rhule is known for his leadership abilities, something that the Giants brass has stated is a primary characteristic that they want from their next head coach.

At just 44-years-old, there are questions as to whether Matt Rhule’s lack of NFL coaching experience will serve to be a detriment to the idea of naming him the next head coach of the Giants. There is no doubt that Rhule is effective at rebuilding college programs, but whether that can translate to the professional level is a valid question.

Another potential hindrance to Rhule becoming the next head coach of the NY Giants is the level of power he currently possesses at Baylor. He currently has the power to make all decisions regarding the roster formation of the Bears. Whether he would be able to have clout on those decisions with Dave Gettleman as the Giants general manager remains to be seen.

While Matt Rhule seems to be an excellent head coaching candidate for the Giants and potentially serves as their top choice, there is a very good chance that he decides to return to Baylor University. Often times the big-name college coaches use the interest they receive from the NFL as leverage to larger contracts and increased power. There is a high likelihood that Rhule does the same, something no one should fault him for.

He has recently stated that it is his plan to stay at Baylor in 2020, although he has discussed with his team that he plans to interview for NFL head coaching vacancies. With the conflicting messages that have been sent by Rhule, his desires are anyone’s guess.

If the Giants are able to pry Rhule away from the college ranks, they will receive an excellent leader of men, who has had a wide array of success with rebuilding floundering programs. In addition, he has success as a coach on both sides of the ball.

Time will tell whether Rhule presents a viable option for the NY Giants head coaching position. It has been reported that he is high on the lists of the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers as their next head coach.

Rhule has already declined an invitation to interview for the Cleveland Browns position. It serves as a positive sign for Giants fans that he did not decline the invite from New York.

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