Matt Rhule Promises Success As Panthers Head Coach
After Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper fired former Head Coach Ron Rivera in December, he said he was leaning toward hiring a coach with NFL experience. But after Tepper and general manager Marty Hurney interviewed Rhule at his home in Waco, Texas, they decided Rhule – a college coach - might be the best fit.
"We’re going about halfway through the interview, and Marty Hurney starts melting down, and Marty says, man, I gotta get in recruiting mode now," Tepper said Wednesday at a news conference introducing the new head coach in uptown. "So, Marty does from interview mode to recruiting mode."
Rhule says he and his family also quickly decided they wanted to be in Charlotte.
"You want to go to someone who does things right," Rhule said. "And when the owner, when Marty the general manager, when they are already at your house before you get there, when they help you carry things in, when you see them sit there and talk to your kids, I said to my wife, there’s no doubt we share the same vision."
Rhule coached at Temple four years, going from 2-10 in his first year and then 10-3 in his fourth season. He then went to Baylor. The Bears were 1-11 in his first year, and then 11-3 this season.
He also has one year of NFL experience as an assistant coach for the New York Giants.
For Rhule’s introduction at the team’s practice facility uptown, Tepper brought in former Panthers stars.
"I’m so excited to be a part of this team," Rhule said. "I’m walking in and I see Steve Smith, and I’m saying to myself, my goodness, the people who came before me — the greatness. I met Julius Peppers earlier— like, Julius Peppers."
Rhule has a seven-year contract, that, according to ESPN, is worth $60 million total – and could reach $70 million with incentives. Only five other NFL coaches will make more money – and all have won a Super Bowl.
When asked about the future of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, Rhule declined to answer, saying it was too early to know.
But for the team as a whole, Rhule said success would come only through consistent hard work.
"Everything has got to be our best each and every day," Rhule said. "And when you live a life like that, where everything’s important, where no days are throwaways, you can be proud of the guy next to you, you can be proud of your effort, and more importantly, eventually success. And championships will come."