Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw is learning that Matt Rhule is a pretty popular coach.
"It was impressive to see - not just current players, former players - but on campus, people from housing, people from admissions, people in [academic] departments who were pulling for him," said Bradshaw, who introduced Rhule Monday as the Owls' new coach. "I would walk around and kind of half-kiddingly say, 'Who should we hire?' . . . I can't tell you how many times Matt's name came up."
As an Owls assistant in 2010, Rhule interviewed for the job when Al Golden left for Miami. Steve Addazio won the coaching position, then left after two seasons to take the Boston College job on Dec. 4.
"I wasn't ready then, but I'm ready now," the 37-year-old Rhule said.
Rhule said he benefited from spending the 2011 season under Addazio at Temple. This season, he is working under Tom Coughlin as an assistant offensive line coach for the New York Giants.
"He's unflappable," Rhule said of Coughlin, who called Bradshaw to recommend Rhule for the job. "He doesn't ever show weakness. He locks his door and says, 'What am I going to do to fix it? I'm not going to worry about what just happened. I'm going to fix it.' I watched that for a year."
Rhule also studied Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.
"And I said to myself, 'If I get a chance to do this, this is what I am going to do,' " Rhule said.
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.
Clearly, Rhule has landed his dream job. His wife, Julie, still works at Temple, and they still own a house in the Philadelphia area.
He will remain with the Giants until the completion of their season. Still, Rhule plans to hire some assistant coaches this week.
"I want to get some guys in here right away because we have to hit the ground running," said Rhule, who met with the remaining members of Addazio's staff after the news conference. "And really, recruiting-wise, I want everyone to feel good about the guys coming in. I want the recruits to know who's going to be their coach."
Former players were lobbying for Rhule seconds after Addazio resigned. The current players urged Bradshaw to hire their former assistant coach during a private meeting the day after Addazio left.
"Bill Bradshaw picked the right guy for the job," said Evan Rodriguez, a former Temple tight end who is a rookie with the Chicago Bears. "I couldn't be any happier for Temple and Coach Rhule as the head coach."
Rhule, a former Penn State linebacker, began his coaching career as the linebackers coach at Albright in 1998. He spent the next two seasons at Buffalo before coaching at UCLA in 2001. Rhule held various coaching positions during four seasons at Western Carolina before joining Temple in 2006.
Despite his ties to Temple, Rhule wasn't the sexy pick from a national-search standpoint. Former Florida International coach Mario Cristobal, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, and Eagles defensive coordinator and Temple alumnus Todd Bowles were candidates with higher profiles.
"What was different for Matt was we always knew [he] fit here," Bradshaw said. "Different than any other search, we had a candidate we knew fit . . . our criteria for here and now."
'89-92 Jerry Berndt 11-33
'93-97 Ron Dickerson 8-47
'98-05 Bobby Wallace 19-71
'06-10 Al Golden 27-34
'11 Steve Addazio 13-11