PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Matt Rhule is currently leading Temple Football to its greatest season in program history.
Rhule, along with most college coaches who rebuild small programs, is now facing speculation surrounding his departure for a larger university or even the NFL.
“Well I plan on being here,” Rhule told Michael Barkann and former Eagles linebacker Ike Reese Thursday on the 94WIP Mike & Ike Show. “Just like I told our players—and Ike you can relate to this. When you were in high school Ike, and there were people that were recruiting you, different schools were coming in to see you. Coach would say, ‘Hey Ike, come downstairs,’ whether it was Michigan State or whether it was Wayne State.
Listen: Matt Rhule on the 94WIP Mike & Ike Show
“‘Hey come down and talk to us.’ And you went down there and you met with people, you were polite to them, but that didn’t mean you wanted to go there. And that didn’t mean you were dying to go to Wayne State, or that you were committed to Wayne State, or that you were begging—you were just hearing people and being polite and being respectful.”
Rhule, who signed a contracted extension in June to stay at Temple through 2021, reportedly talked to Missouri about their coaching vacancy this week.
“So a lot of things of being said about me that really aren’t even true,” Rhule said. “People think I’m meeting with these people and really I’m sitting in my office working. But I absolutely plan on being here. I don’t ever promise anything. The Edmonton Eskimos could call me and maybe that’s the right thing for me and my family, but my family loves Temple and we love Philadelphia. And I’ll just tell you this, I plan on being here and I plan on being here for a long time because I am honored and privileged to coach these kids and they’re great kids.
“My team knows how I feel about them and I want to be their coach, be their coach not just this week but next year as well.”
On the field, Rhule’s AP No. 20 ranked Temple Owls have won 10 games for just the second time ever and will play Houston on Saturday for the American conference title and a possible bid for a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Rhule, 40, admits there is uncertainty surrounding his future, but hopes that his transparency is enough to garner respect.
“At the end of the day, truth is an action,” Rhule said. “Am I meeting with anybody right now? Am I talking to anybody about any jobs right now? Absolutely not. And our players know that, I just don’t go out and say that publicly because I want to be respectful. But I also tell our kids, ‘You know what guys, if the Oakland Raiders call me—I mean I’m a college head coach and if an NFL team calls me is it OK if I listen to them?’ And the kids all say, ‘Coach, absolutely.’
“What man in the world can say this is what I’m gonna be doing next year?” Rhule continued. “I’m certainly not gonna be one of those coaches who says something and doesn’t do it. I plan on being here, I hope to be here, I think Temple wants me here, and I’m not meeting with anybody right now. If the Raiders call me, if the Cowboys call me, I don’t know if I’ll meet with them, but I’m not gonna make that decision right now.”
The situation is certainly weighing heavily on Rhule and his family.
“This is hard man,” Rhule admitted. “This is really, really hard. People start coming to your door and say hey, ‘I got four million dollars.’ But you know what, I’d rather coach Temple’s kids. I love these kids. I’d rather coach here and coach Temple’s kids then just sell my soul for four million dollars. That is the truth and that’s as honest and open as I can be with you guys.”