The long coaching search seems to be nearing its climax. According to Chris Low of ESPN, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are finalizing a deal to hire Matt Rhule as the next head coach of the storied football program. Further reports have been made by Bruce Feldman and Mitch Sherman of The Athletic stating that a formal job offer has been made, this one a second such offer after an initial was rejected earlier this month.
Nebraska has zeroed in on former Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule as @HuskerFBNation’s next head coach, and the two sides hope to finalize a deal in the coming days, sources tell ESPN.— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) November 25, 2022
Despite dropping out of the Corn Nation power ranking this week due to rumors he had rejected the job, the 47 year old is reportedly expected to be announced within the next few days as the next head coach in Lincoln. Initial claims last week suggested Rhule wanted to sit out the 2023 season and regroup after being fired by the Carolina Panthers following a 1-4 start in his third season at the helm of the NFL franchise.
Rhule was only in his third-year of a seven-year, $62 million deal and is owed approximately $34 million still pending a future position. Overall, he was 11-27 with Carolina.
While his stint in the NFL was short, Rhule is a well respected college coach. He went 28-23 in four seasons at Temple, finishing 10-4 and 10-3 in his final two seasons including its first conference championship since 1967 his final season.
Rhule then took over a scandal plagued Baylor and steered the program through a rough 1-11 first season in 2017. His Bears teams then went 7-6 and 11-3 his final two seasons at the helm before leaving for Carolina.
Earlier this week, Rhule spoke on Good Morning Football about almost two months away from coaching, saying:
“It’s been good. It’s been hard. I’m not going to lie to you. I’ve been coaching for a long, long time. That part of it’s hard. I have a chance now, I’m working on my youngest daughter’s jump shot. That’s my coaching right now. I spend a little time every day doing some football. Going back watching tape, watching games and try to do what all the great coaches I know have done after you get fired going back and saying, ‘hey, what could I have done better?’ and getting ready for the next chance.”
Nebraska is looking to improve from its sixth straight losing season and seventh losing season of the last eight. The Huskers are the only Power Five program to not qualify for a bowl game since the last appearance in 2016 under then head coach Mike Riley when UNL fell 38-24 to Tennessee in the Music City Bowl.
Rhule went 1-2 in bowl games during his coaching career, defeating Vanderbilt 45-38 in the 2018 Texas Bowl while coaching Baylor. His Bears fell 26-14 to Georgia the following season in the 2020 Sugar Bowl, a New Years Six bowl. The Huskers have not qualified for a NY6 or BCS bowl game since falling to Miami in the 2002 BCS National Championship game.
Corn Nation’s own Jon Johnston spoke more about Rhule as the potential next head coach back on Nov. 14. Catch those remarks here.
This article has been updated since its original publication to reflect further claims that a formal job offer has been made by Nebraska to Rhule.