Like Jerry Maguire, Matt Rhule had them at “Hello.”
But unlike Tom Cruise’s character, Temple’s new coach is no con man. Over the course of an hour the man who admitted he was not fully prepared when he applied for the job two years ago, explained why the timing is perfect now.
And why now that he’s back he plans to stick around.
“If you wish to be great at all you must begin where you are and with what you are,” said the 37-year-old Rhule, the overwhelming choice among former and current Owls players, as well as the administration. “He who would be great anywhere must first be great in his own Philadelphia.”
Those aren’t Rhule’s words. They are from Temple founder Russell Conwell, yet he says they’re just as applicable today as they were then.
“During this year I realize how much I want to be here,” said Rhule, assistant offensive line coach with the Super Bowl champion Giants, who will continue in that capacity through the end of the season. “In that moment I realized if this opportunity ever came up again I was not only going to apply for it, but fight for it.
“I will tell recruits if it’s in my power, I’m going to be here. I want to be here. I’ll tell my players I can’t promise you much, but I promise you I’ll give you the same commitment, trust and respect that we demand of you.”
He’ll also bring two additional years of decision-making and leadership, something he lacked at the time Steve Addazio was chosen over him. Rhule remains grateful that Addazio decided to keep him on as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator for a year.
“Steve looked at what was in place and decided to keep the infrastructure together,” said Rhule. “I learned from that and I learned from Tom Coughlin. This season has been like getting a PhD in offensive football for me. I’m embarrassed at how much I didn’t know.”
Now it is Rhule’s show and he can’t wait to get started.
In his case it won’t be, “Show him the money,” just show him those familiar cherry and white colors. He’ll take it from there.