Nebraska offers Matt Rhule a head coaching job: sources

Nebraska has offered former Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule his open head football coaching job, according to sources with knowledge of the negotiations. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The 47-year-old Rhule has been at or near the top of the Cornhuskers’ target list in recent weeks after being fired by the Panthers on Oct. 10. Nebraska fired former coach Scott Frost on September 11.
  • Rhule was offered the job earlier this month, sources said, and then Nebraska got back to him this week with a stronger package.
  • The parties are working out details; Nebraska is optimistic that a deal can be worked out to name him head coach this weekend.
  • Mickey Joseph, a former assistant head coach of the Huskers, served as Nebraska’s interim coach and led the Huskers to a 24-17 victory over Iowa in their season finale on Friday.

Backstory

Talks between Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts and Rhule intensified this month, with activity on the transfer portal restarting in early December. The early signing period starts two weeks later.

Rhule revived programs with Temple and Baylor from 2013 to 2019, winning 10 games or more in three of his seven seasons, and he is viewed by outsiders as a home mercenary. He’s from New York and coached on the East Coast, aside from a season at UCLA as an assistant and his tenure at Baylor, but he’s familiar with the Big Ten as a former Penn State linebacker.

Rhule also thrived in an unfamiliar Texas environment, helping the Bears rebuild after a sex abuse scandal threatened to destroy the program.

His Carolina contract also increased his attractiveness to Alberts. Rhule signed a seven-year, $62 million deal in 2020 and owes more than $40 million until the end of the deal. Any salary paid to Rhule by his next employer is deducted from the amount owed by the Panthers, so the program could get a relative bargain in Rhule – for the first four seasons of his deal.

Nebraska finished the season 4–8 after Iowa’s upset. Alberts attended in Iowa City. The sophomore Nebraska AD, originally from Eastern Iowa, traveled separately from the Huskers to attend the final game of the season. An introductory press conference in Lincoln for Rhule could take place as early as Sunday. Nebraska officials, without direct instructions from Alberts as to timing, have reserved the Hawks Championship Center for use to host a recruiting event.

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(Photo: Jim Dedmon/USA Today)

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