Matt Rhule appears ready to accept his dream job as Temple's head football coach early next week after former Owls' defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio, one of the last two finalists, withdrew his name from consideration.
Rhule will replace Steve Addazio, who left after two seasons to become the head coach at Boston College.
Rhule, an assistant offensive line coach with the New York Giants, spent six seasons at Temple in a variety of positions under both Al Golden and Addazio.
He was recruiting coordinator under both coaches, while serving as defensive line coach, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in five seasons under Golden and assistant offensive coordinator and tight ends coach in his lone season with Addazio.
Rhule, 37, previously coached at Western Carolina, UCLA, Buffalo, Penn State and Albright. He is a Penn State graduate, playing linebacker for Joe Paterno.
Rhule came to Temple with Golden when the program was at its low point - coming off a winless season in 2005 - and was part of the staff that helped build the Owls into a perennial contender in the Mid-American Conference. He coached Temple in its first bowl game in 30 years when it played UCLA in the 2009 Eagle Bank Bowl and to its first bowl win in 32 years when it beat Wyoming in the 2011 New Mexico Bowl.
San Jose State coach Mike MacIntyre appeared to be an early leading candidate, but he accepted the head coaching job at Colorado. Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson appeared to be another serious candidate before withdrawing his name from consideration.
D'Onofrio, who decided not to pursue the head coaching position two years ago to follow Golden to Miami (Fla.), was under consideration this time until withdrawing his name from consideration.
Rhule interviewed for the head coaching position two years ago, but was passed over for Addazio. However, Addazio and Rhule bonded on a few recruiting trips and while Scot Loeffler was named offensive coordinator, Rhule stayed on staff in a different capacity until moving on to the Giants this season.
His ability to thrive under a second head coach and then gaining valuable experience in the NFL certainly helped his candidacy the second time around. After Addazio left following two seasons, Rhule's commitment to Temple was certainly seen as a positive as well.
The State College, Pa. native is extremely popular with current and former players, who backed his candidacy to athletic director Bill Bradshaw and took to Twitter expressing their preference.
It looks like early next week, they'll get their wish.
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