Nebraska has offered former Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule its open head football coaching job, according to sources with knowledge of the negotiations. Here’s what you need to know:
- Rhule, 47, was at or near the top of the Cornhuskers’ list of targets in recent weeks after he was 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 sort out details; Nebraska is optimistic a deal can be worked out to name him its head coach this weekend.
- Mickey Joseph, a former associate head coach for the Huskers, served as Nebraska’s interim coach and led the Huskers to a 24-17 win Friday at Iowa in their season finale.
Conversations between Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts and Rhule 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 games or more in three of his seven seasons, and he’s seen as a home-run hire by outsiders. He’s from New York and coached on the East Coast aside from one 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 environment in Texas, helping the Bears rebuild after a sexual assault scandal threatened to destroy the program.
His Carolina contract also increased his level of attractiveness to Alberts. Rhule signed a seven-year, $62 million deal in 2020 and is owed more than $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 a relative bargain in Rhule — for the first four seasons of his deal.
Nebraska finished the season 4-8 after its upset of Iowa. Alberts was in attendance at Iowa City. The second-year Nebraska AD, originally from Eastern Iowa, traveled separately from the Huskers to attend the final game of the season. An introductory news conference in Lincoln for Rhule could come as early as Sunday. Nebraska officials, without direct instruction from Alberts on the timing, have reserved the Hawks Championship Center for use to stage a hiring event.
(Photo: Jim Dedmon / USA Today)