Nebraska offers Matt Rhule coaching job: Sources

Nebraska offered former Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule his work as an open-headed football coach, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Rhule, 47, 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 Sept. 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 work out the details; Nebraska is optimistic a deal can be reached to name him head coach this weekend.
  • Former Huskers associate head coach Mickey Joseph served as interim coach for Nebraska and led the Huskers to a 24-17 victory Friday at Iowa in their season finale.

Past

Conversations between Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts and Rhule have intensified this month, with transfer portal activity restarting in early December. The early signing period opens two weeks later.

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

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

His contract with Carolina also increased his level of attractiveness for Alberts. Rhule signed a seven-year, $62 million deal in 2020 and owes over $40 million through the end of the deal. Any salary paid to Rhule by his next employer is subtracted from the amount owed by the Panthers, so the program could get Rhule a good deal — for the first four seasons of his contract.

Nebraska finished the season 4-8 after upsetting Iowa. Alberts was present in Iowa City. The second-year Nebraska DA, originally from eastern Iowa, traveled separately from the Huskers to watch the final game of the season. An introductory press conference at Lincoln for Rhule could be held as early as Sunday. Nebraska officials, without direct instruction from Alberts on timing, booked the Hawks Championship Center to hold a hiring event.

Required reading

(Photo: Jim Dedmon/USA Today)

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