By Anita Oh
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This past weekend, the mood was very celebratory at Temple University as the school celebrated their American Athletic Conference championship.
On Tuesday, they learned they’d be saying goodbye to the man who led them there, head coach Matt Rhule. Many Temple fans are not taking the news well.
“I don’t appreciate that he went to Baylor because being a high school football player myself, when you get recruited in and brought into a program and someone leaves, that has to be the scariest feeling in the world,” said Zach Pownall.
Rhule led the Owls to back to back ten win seasons for the first time in school history, but it’s his character off the field that resonates most with dreshman Devon Cottman, a former intern with the team.
“He’s very passionate about what he does. He’s a very kind person, cares about the players and everybody working in there,” Cottman said.
While many are sad to see Rhule go, others say they understand why.
“I think it’s smart for him because you’re going to a power 5 conference obviously in the Big 12, so you’re gonna be dealing with better competition. For the school, obviously everybody’s pretty devastated right now,” said Eric White.
“Bigger school, better recruiting, more national prominence. I can see why,” Robert Jones explained. “He brought Temple up to where they are now so I can’t hold it against him for going for a better opportunity.”
“I’m rooting for him. He’s doing bigger and better things. Maybe someday we’ll see him in the NFL,” Andrew Sesario said.
“I don’t see him as a turn coat traitor, just wish he would’ve stayed a few more years,” John Tafel said.
Will the program be able to keep its momentum alive without Rhule at the helm?
“I think the players have the determination to keep it going, but I think a lot of players want to leave with him,” said Ally Esposito.
“I think whether you like it or not, this program is still on the rise and everything will be alright,” said Michael Bojsza.