Rhule, who became a prominent coach at the collegiate ranks before being hired by Carolina, finalized the deal with Cornhuskers’ officials to replace interim head coach Mickey Joseph, who took over the program after Scott Frost was fired three games into the current season. Carolina fired Rhule as their head coach on Oct. 11, ending his two-and-a-half-year tenure with the franchise. At the time of his dismissal, Rhule was owed $34 million by the Panthers.
“I love the games, I love winning, I love competing, I love all that. But it’s been six weeks since I’ve been at practice and I just I miss that whistle,” Rhule wrote in a first-person story earlier this week for The 33rd Team. “I miss seeing something done wrong, blowing the whistle, and saying, ‘Stop! Let’s do it again!’ ”
In that same conversation, Rhule didn’t rule out a quick return to the game in some fashion.
“Wherever I go next, it has to be a team that believes in what I’m doing,” he wrote in the second part of a two-part story. “And then, I have to do it better than I did last time. I don’t shirk that responsibility. I have to do it better than I did in Carolina. I’m going to do the same things; just do it better. That could be tomorrow. That could be three years from now. I don’t know when or what it will be. I just know this: I’ll be involved with football.”
The news comes only 46 days after Rhule’s time in the NFL came to an end. He will replace Joseph, who has led the Cornhuskers to a 3-6 record in his nine games in charge.
“I want to make sure I take the right job. I want to make sure I go to a place that wants to do it the way that I want to do it,” Rhule wrote. “When you hire me, you’re getting a distinct way of doing things. We’re going to try to build a team, and it might take a little while to get to where we want to go, but it’s going to be sustained. It’s going to be built on the right things.”
Using that philosophy of team-building, Rhule became a known coaching commodity during a seven-year career, taking over two FBS programs from 2013-2019. Leading Temple over four years, Rhule compiled a 28-23 record. True to his word of taking a methodical approach to sustained success, his first season at Temple was a 2-10 year, but in Years 3 and 4, he led the Owls to two of their three 10-win seasons in program history, and top-20 rankings in both years.
Rhule was then hired by Baylor, where he went 19-20 in three seasons, with an 11-win campaign in Year 3, reaching a No. 8 national ranking and a Sugar Bowl berth. At the time, the Bears’ 11 wins were tied for the most in a single season in program history. Rhule parlayed that success into the coaching job with the Panthers.
His NFL career began with a pair of five-win seasons, but unlike his college coaching stops, he couldn’t build upon them in Year 3. The Panthers struggled to a 1-4 start in 2022 as the team battled injuries and poor play at the quarterback position.
The Cornhuskers have been searching for an answer at head coach as the program tries to escape its longest streak of losing seasons since the 1940s. Nebraksa has won five or fewer games for six consecutive seasons and has been ranked only once since 2015.