The Owls really had no choice. After a 10-3 campaign (and possibly 11-3 after they face Toledo in the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl in two weeks) Temple's football team has burst onto the national stage.
With two sellouts (of 69,000-plus fans at the Linc against Penn State and Notre Dame), numerous weeks nationally ranked and an abundance of television exposure, Temple football is a hot commodity.
So it their coach Matt Rhule. Or at least, he was, until the Owls nailed him down with a six-year contract extension that will keep the coach in North Philly until 2021 -- thus keeping him from a higher-profile school seeking a new head coach like BYU and Rutgers.
“One of the first decisions I made as Temple’s president was to hire Matt Rhule as football coach,” Temple University President Neil D. Theobald said. “Matt’s commitment to our student-athletes on and off the field, as well as the program's substantial improvement each season, has more than justified my confidence in him. He works tirelessly for the betterment of our players, our football program, and our university.”
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Rhule's Owls had just two wins when he first took over in 2013. Last season they were bowl eligible at 6-6, and this season, they were a win away from appearing in the Peach Bowl on New Years Eve (where AAC champion Houston will face Florida State).
“While this has been such a special season, there is still so much more that Temple football can accomplish,” Rhule said. “I am proud to coach such incredible student-athletes and I am honored to continue to be a part of the Temple community.”
Rhule coached at Temple for six seasons as an assistant prior to a one-year stint as an assistant with the Giants before he returned to take over the Owls.
Many alum hope this season -- and Rhule's extension -- will create the perfect storm when recruiting begins after this season. And for years to come.