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:
- Rhule, 47, has been at the top of the Cornhuskers’ target list for the past few weeks after he was 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 came back to him this week with a stronger package.
- The parties are working to clarify details; Nebraska is optimistic a deal can be worked out to appoint him head coach this weekend.
- Mickey Joseph, a former assistant head coach for the Huskers, served as interim coach of Nebraska and led the Huskers to a 24-17 win in their season finale in Iowa on Friday.
Talks between Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts and Rhule intensified this month, with transfer portal activity resuming in early December. The early signing phase begins two weeks later.
Rhule revived programs at Temple and Baylor from 2013 to 2019, winning 10 games or more in three of his seven seasons, and he’s considered a home run clerk by outsiders. A native of New York, he trained on the East Coast aside from a season at UCLA as an assistant and his tenure at Baylor, but is 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 sexual assault scandal threatened to wreck the program.
His Carolina contract also increased his appeal to Alberts. Rhule signed a seven-year, $62 million contract in 2020 and owes him more than $40 million by the end of the contract. Any salary paid to Rhule by his next employer will be deducted from the amount the Panthers owe, so the program could get a relative bargain at Rhule – for the first four seasons of his contract.
Nebraska finished the season 4-8 after its upset against Iowa. Alberts was present in Iowa City. The Nebraska AD sophomore, 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 reserved the Hawks Championship Center to host a hiring event without direct direction from Alberts on timing.
(Photo: Jim Dedmon / USA Today)