By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — He led them to the best two-year stretch in the program’s history and their first conference championship since 1967.

Matt Rhule went 28-23 in his four seasons as head football coach of the Temple Owls, culminating in a blowout win over Navy in the AAC Championship. Just three days later on December 6th, the one-time Penn State linebacker accepted the head coaching position at Baylor University.

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It certainly wasn’t easy.

“It’s never easy to leave, but it was very much felt like the right decision to take on a new challenge and take a shot at something new,” Rhule explained Thursday on the 94WIP Carlin & Reese Show with Ike Reese and Chris Carlin.

Listen: Matt Rhule on the 94WIP Carlin & Reese Show


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“It wasn’t easy saying goodbye. Those players did a lot for me and I love those kids. The thought of not being able to be with them in the bowl game, not being their coach moving forward, that was all very, very difficult. But, as I told them, there’s different chapters in all of our lives and it was time for me to take on a new challenge, so I did.”

Taking over for Rhule at Temple is Geoff Collins, a defensive mastermind who spent time coaching defense with Rhule at Albright College.

“You’re getting a home run,” Rhule said of Collins. “He’s a defensive. He’s a ball of energy. He’s a tremendous recruiter, but the biggest thing to me is he’s gonna take care of those players. I was sad to leave those guys and all I cared about was that there would be someone there that would have their back. And that’s definitely what he is. He’s a guy that’s gonna have those kids’ back and he’s gonna take tremendous care of them.”

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As for Rhule, he’s making the adjustment going from Philadelphia to Waco, Texas.

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“You can’t find a great cheesesteak here,” Rhule joked, “but you can find some really great tacos. So I’m making the adjustment.”