In the annals of New York Giants football, Matt Rhule's time in the Big Apple will be but a blip. A mere nine months after taking over as assistant offensive line coach, Rhule is returning home.
The former Temple assistant signed a contract Saturday to become the Owls' new head coach, according to a university source. Temple will formally introduce the 37-year-old as its coach at a news conference at 2 p.m. Monday.
He replaces Steve Addazio, who left Dec. 4 for Boston College.
Rhule was the co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach at Temple before joining the Giants in March. He had various coaching positions during his six seasons as an Owls assistant, five of which he served under former head coach Al Golden.
Rhule interviewed for Temple's top job in 2010, when Addazio won the coaching position vacated by Golden, who left for Miami.
The former Penn State player said that coaching the Owls remains his dream job. His wife, Julie, still works at the university.
Several former and current players and the Owls' top 2013 recruit - Williamstown linebacker Buddy Brown - urged the hiring of Rhule to replace Addazio.
His hiring will bring continuity to the program. Rhule already has strong ties to players, the university, and the region. This should ensure a rather seamless transition in recruiting, since he recruited most of the current players on the team.
Rhule also knows the importance of restoring pride back to the program. The Owls won 26 games and made two bowl-game appearances during his final three seasons as an Owls assistant.
Last season's squad struggled mightily in its transition from the Mid-American Conference to the Big East. The Owls finished with a 4-7 record after losing five of their final six games.
"This is a very big day for Temple," said Derek Dennis, a former Temple offensive lineman and now a practice squad player with the Chicago Bears. "They got a good coach who really cares about his players. And he is going to push his players but be more genuine and not as cliché-ish."
Rhule and Miami defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio were the finalists for the job. D'Onofrio took his name out of consideration Friday.
Like Rhule, D'Onofrio coached at Temple from 2006 to 2010 under Golden. D'Onofrio was the Owls' defensive coordinator and went to Miami when Golden took the Hurricanes coaching job.
Also interviewing for the job were Eagles defensive coordinator and Temple alumnus Todd Bowles, Temple defensive coordinator Chuck Heater, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, former Florida International coach Mario Cristobal, and Ohio State running backs coach Stan Drayton, sources said.