Matt Rhule has led quite the renaissance at Temple, going from two wins in 2013 to six wins in 2014 to 10 wins in 2015. In fact, Temple won 10 games for just the second time in program history – and the first time since 1979.
It was quite a season.
“We’re very proud of what we did last year,” Rhule said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “As with anything in life, there were great moments, there were some down moments, but I thought overall our kids showed tremendous spirit. They really worked as hard as they could work. I’m just proud to be their coach and I was happy to see them have so much success. So as we move forward now, the sights have been set and the expectations have been set. There’s a lot that they accomplished last year and we have to try to do it again.”
Rhule, 41, was an assistant coach at Temple in 2006. The Owls went 1-11 that season under Al Golden.
The difference between Temple then and Temple now? It’s like two different worlds.
“Oh, it’s night and day,” Rhule said. “It’s almost like two different programs, two different sports at times. Those were great kids. Some of those kids, several of them work for us now. But those kids had true resolve. They worked so hard to build the program and they kept it afloat. So now when we have success, when we’re on national TV, national radio or when we play in bowl games and have College GameDay come here, really, most of the accomplishments came on the backs of those kids who just fought and scratched and clawed, even when the outlook was not very optimistic.”
Rhule remains a hot coaching commodity and last season received interested from several Power Five schools, including Missouri and Syracuse. Ultimately, though, he decided to stay at Temple.
“Well, I love these players,” he said. “I’ve been here for 10 years as an assistant and the head coach, and I love the kids that I’m coaching They do everything that I’ve asked. They work hard, they go to school, they’re great in the community, and I felt like we built something great. The work is not done. We have a lot more to do, but I wanted to finish it. I wanted to be a part of it and I wanted to be around these kids for another year, if not 10 more years. So things come and there are awesome opportunities at great schools with I’m sure other great kids. But I love this program, I love this city, I love these kids and I’m just honored to be able to stay and try to coach them for one more year.”
Temple started 10-2 last year before losing to Houston, 24-13, in the AAC Championship and to Toledo, 32-17, in the Boca Raton Bowl.
“We want to try to get right back there,” Rhule said. “We want to go back to the conference championship game and find a way to win it. We want to go to a bowl game and find a way to win it. We’re never going to be satisfied, but we certainly want to be proud of what we did. We’re proud of the things that we accomplished last year, but there’s certainly a feeling of unfinished business. Hopefully we can find a way over these next 12 games to get into the conference championship game and this time try to find a way to score more points than our opponent.”