Until the Syracuse Orange have a new football coach, we'll be previewing candidates that may be up for the job. One of these individuals might be leading the program. Or maybe it's someone else entirely. Sometimes we're wrong. Sorry.
Who's this guy?
Where is he right now?
Temple, where he's the head coach of a ranked Owls team playing for a conference title this weekend. You may recall when Temple was bad. A whole lot of weird things have happened since then, as we've brought up before.
Where else has he been?
Rhule played linebacker at Penn State, though he's a New York City kid originally. After his playing days, he was a linebackers coach at Albright College (in Pennsylvania), and D-line coach at Buffalo and UCLA, before a three-year stay at Western Carolina handling various aspects of the defense and offensive line. Later, he moved through the ranks at Temple, first coaching the defensive line in 2006, then handling quarterbacks and recruiting in 2007, before working as the offensive coordinator and QBs coach from 2008-2010. He stepped back a bit to be assistant OC while handling tight ends and recruiting in 2011, then served as an assistant offensive line coach with the New York Giants for a year.
He was brought back to Temple in 2013 as the head coach when Steve Addazio left for Boston College.
What do current fans think of him?
Considering it's been nearly 40 years since Temple's seen any sort of success even resembling this, you could say they're pretty smitten with Rhule.
Since the Eagles are terrible (HA!), Temple's been winning over the city of Philadelphia with Rhule at the helm, even earning the team a date hosting College Gameday last month. They've acknowledged just how historic this turnaround has been, and even hypothesize that he'd be a better Eagles coach than Chip Kelly right now.
Obviously they wouldn't be thrilled to lose him, but you'd have to think his departure is assumed by this point.
Random fun fact:
Apparently Rhule used to wear his Penn State football sweatshirt all around Los Angeles when he was a coach out there ("here," in my case). Less fun and more weird, since why would you wear a sweatshirt in L.A. all the time?
Six degrees of Syracuse:
There's the clear Tom Coughlin one that so many have. In his case, it's very recent -- 2012 when he worked under Coughlin with the Giants. Another? When he worked at Buffalo, he just missed Bulls head coach Jim Hofher, who took over the program in 2001 (right after Rhule left for UCLA). This is only important because Hofher played quarterback in Central New York (Cornell) before serving as both a running backs coach (1987-1988) and quarterbacks coach (2000) at Syracuse in two separate stints.
Advantages to hiring him?
Rhule checks the "Northeast guy" box numerous times, being from both New York and Pennsylvania, playing at Penn State and coaching at Buffalo before heading down to Temple and the Giants, respectively.
As a younger coach and a "hot name" on the market, he creates a ton of buzz both within the Syracuse market and around the country. While recruiting hasn't been amazing for Temple under Rhule, the results on the field have been. And if he can do that in a very short time at Temple (remember, despite Al Golden and Steve Addazio setting the stage for Temple to be better, the Owls were still 2-10 in Rhule's first season (and 4-7 the year before). That he's gotten them here THIS quickly is insane -- and needed for the Orange, who could really use a quick turnaround.
Drawbacks to hiring him?
Can't say there are a ton of them. If anything, the one some might hone in on is the fact that he's spent the majority of his time coaching at Temple and that coaching outside of that environment could create some new challenges for him. Additionally, he's a big Penn State guy and perhaps he'd be among the next on the list if James Franklin left the Nittany Lions program in the near future.
And again, he hasn't had enormous success with recruiting at Temple, despite the positive results on the field.
Odds it happens?
He was largely thought of as the favorite for the Missouri job, but with that taken off the table yesterday, there's no telling where he goes now. You'd think that Rutgers might be on his radar, since it fits a similar profile to that of Syracuse. He could also be waiting out the coaching carousel to see if another, larger job opens up for him as other dominoes fall.
Chances might be higher now than they were before things broke down with Missouri. But there's probably still a slim shot (15 percent or less) he ends up at Syracuse right now.