Rhule, coming off his fourth year at the helm of Temple’s football program, will replace interim head coach Jim Grobe, according to a press release posted to the team website Tuesday morning. Rhule inherits a program struggling both on the field and in the office, as the athletic department and university have failed to internally address the sexual assault scandal that disrupted the nation’s largest private Baptist university over the past year. The Bears finished 6-6 in the 2016 regular season, earning a slot in the Cactus Bowl after ending the season on a six-game losing streak.
In addition to instituting a culture of accountability and basic respect for the university and surrounding community’s female population, Rhule will also have to get to work on the recruiting trail. As of his hiring, Baylor claims just one committed recruit for the entire Class of 2017; the rest of the once-strong Bears class reneged on their commitments following the ouster of disgraced ex-Baylor coach Art Briles and subsequent reports of Baylor officials, including Briles, knowing about but failing to report an alleged gang rape.
Rhule’s coaching background, while light, seems to promise brighter days for Baylor’s football prospects, as the 41-year-old more than made a name for himself in his first stint as a head coach. After a dreadful 2-10 initial outing in 2013, Rhule led the Owls to a 6-6 record in 2014 before exploding for a pair of 10-win seasons in 2015 and 2016. Temple ended this year on a seven-game winning streak, claiming the American Athletic Conference crown and earning a date with Wake Forest in the Military Bowl along the way.