Nebraska has named Matt Rhule as the team’s new coach, signing him to an eight-year contract.
Rhule, who was fired by the NFL’s Carolina Panthers in October, previously had successful stints in college football at Baylor and Temple.
Rhule replaces Scott Frost, who was fired from his alma mater earlier this season after a 1-2 start. Mickey Joseph was promoted to interim head coach.
Rhule told ESPN’s “College GameDay” on Saturday that knowing the previous regime made the Nebraska job more attractive.
“One of the things that drew me to it is knowing that Scott had been there for the last several years,” Rhule said. “Scott Frost is a coach that I truly respect and consider a friend. And so I know that program has a good culture, I know they know how to work. Now it’s about just all of us picking up moving forward.”
The Cornhuskers (4-8) finished their 2022 campaign with a 24-17 win against Iowa on Friday.
Rhule, 47, was less than three seasons into his seven-year, $62 million deal with the Panthers when he was fired after a 1-4 start to this season. Overall, he was 11-27 with Carolina, and the team went 1-27 when allowing 17 or more points.
He was still owed more than $40 million when he was fired by the Panthers.
Despite being financially stable, Rhule said he had two reasons for getting back into coaching.
“Being away from it, the more you miss the players, the more you miss the locker room and coaching,” Rhule said. “And then this is Nebraska. This is a team that I grew up not just watching; this is a team that I grew up revering.”
Rhule had a reputation for turning programs around. In his third season at Temple, the Owls went 10-2 in the regular season. A year later, he led the program to its first conference championship since 1967.
At Baylor, just two years after going 1-11 in his first season for the Big 12 program, Rhule led the Bears to an 11-3 record in 2020.
Information from ESPN’s Chris Low and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Nebraska announces Matt Rhule as program’s new coach