Matt Rhule did something ever before seen in college football. He took his team, the Baylor Bears, from a one-win season in 2017 to 11 wins in 2019.
His hard work and success paid off as Yahoo Sports reported that the Carolina Panthers are finalizing a deal to make Rhule their new head coach in 2020.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 7, 2020
Both the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers had significant interest in Rhule, who also refused an interview with the Cleveland Browns. Rhule has reportedly chosen the Panthers over the Giants and will move on to the NFL.
He joins Kliff Kinsbury as Big 12 head coaches making the move to the NFL. Kingsbury was the former head coach at Texas Tech and took over with the Arizona Cardinals in 2019.
Rhule will replace Ron Rivera, who finished his career at Carolina with a 76-63 record and took the team to a Super Bowl. Rivera was only unemployed for a short time before the Washington Redskins hired him to become their next head coach.
With Rhule heading to the Panthers, that leaves only the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns as teams looking for a head coach. On top of Rivera joining the Redskins, the Dallas Cowboys hired Mike McCarthy to become their next head coach.
Two years ago, Rhule interviewed with the Indianapolis Colts despite his Baylor Bears finishing with just one win. They chose to go in another direction and when Rhule showed improvement in year two, more NFL teams took notice.
After the Baylor Bears finished the 2019 season with an 11-2 record, both losses coming to the playoff-bound Oklahoma Sooners, they wrapped things up by losing to the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl, 26-14.
While the Baylor Bears made him one of college football’s highest-paid coaches and included what was reported as one of the five highest buyouts in college football history. The extension was through 2027 and Ruhule lasted less than a year under the new contract.
As a private school, Baylor was not required to release his contract information, so the totals are unknown.