The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Nebraska names Matt Rhule as its next football coach

Matt Rhule is set to be introduced as Nebraska's next football coach on Monday after most recently serving as coach of the Carolina Panthers. (Michael Conroy/AP)
2 min

Matt Rhule has been named the next football coach at Nebraska, the school announced Saturday morning, after directing turnarounds at several other college programs.

A news conference is scheduled for Monday in Lincoln, Neb., where Athletic Director Trev Alberts will formally introduce Rhule, whose résumé includes becoming the first coach to take a Power Five school from 11 losses to 11 wins within three seasons.

Rhule’s contract is for eight years, with additional details to be announced Monday.

“It is a tremendous honor to be chosen to lead the Nebraska football program,” Rhule, 47, said in a statement. “When you think of great, tradition-rich programs in college football Nebraska is right there at the top of the list. I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to coach at Memorial Stadium on Tom Osborne Field.”

Rhule takes over a program that has not won more than five games in each of the last six years and posted one winning season since 2015. The Cornhuskers went through three coaches during that time, most recently Mickey Joseph on an interim basis when Scott Frost was fired this season after a 1-2 start.

College football Week 13 preview: Sorting out conference title games

The Cornhuskers have not reached double-digit wins since 2012, the program’s second year in the Big Ten after leaving the Big 12. Their last bowl appearance came in 2016 under former coach Mike Riley.

Rhule’s track record for rebuilding programs was most compelling for Nebraska. In 2019, Rhule guided Baylor to an 11-3 record, an appearance in the Big 12 championship game and a Sugar Bowl berth. The Bears went 1-11 during Rhule’s first season in 2017.

Before Baylor, Rhule led Temple to 28 wins over four years, including consecutive 10-win seasons in 2015 and 2016, when the Owls won the AAC championship. Temple had not won 10 games in a season since 1979 before Rhule’s arrival.

“Coach Rhule has created a winning culture throughout his coaching career, and he will provide great leadership for the young men in our football program,” Alberts said in a statement. “Matt is detail-oriented, his teams are disciplined and play a physical brand of football.”

Rhule spent the previous three seasons as coach of the Carolina Panthers, who fired him Oct. 10 less than three full years into a seven-year contract worth $62 million. He went 5-11 in his first season and 5-12 last year while failing to develop a franchise quarterback.