By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer, Video by Drake Toll | Broadcast Reporter
Baylor head football coach Matt Rhule pushed the expiration date of his seven-year contract to March of 2028. The extension was announced in a press conference Sunday evening.
The coach said in his weekly media luncheon on Monday that he is excited for the opportunities this will bring to his partnership with the university.
“Everything here is the best of the best,” Rhule said. “I hope it tells recruits that yeah … I’ll probably have other options. I’ve had other options, our coaching staff have had other options, [but] we’re not forced to be here. We love to be here cause this is a great place.”
The extension comes on the wake of Rhule receiving NFL coaching interest, namely from the Colts and Jets over the past two off-seasons.
David Smoak of ESPN 1660 reported Monday morning that Rhule’s extension featured one of the top five buyout totals in the country. Buyouts in college coach contracts are included to safeguard universities from coaches leaving them for better opportunities.
But Baylor Athletics Director Mack Rhoades said that the buyout was not placed as a way to keep Rhule “hostage” at Baylor.
“You never want a buyout to keep or force someone to stay at your place. You don’t want to hold them hostage,” Rhoades said. “Now, with that said, a buyout is important, whether it’s Coach Rhule or anyone else. […] the buyout is aggressive but not necessarily because we’re going to do it to prohibit Coach Rhule or others from leaving, because that’s not the right mentality.”
The buyout dollar amount probably won’t be released anytime soon, but the new contract gives fans, recruits and current students alike security in the program.
Rhule was recruited by Rhoades in 2016 to be Baylor’s next head coach in the wake of Art Briles’ firing. That choice has been fruitful for the university even though Rhule’s first season in Waco wasn’t too rosy as the Bears posted a 1-11 record in the fall of 2017.
That seems to be part of Rhule’s pattern, however. The Penn State alum started his tenure at Temple with a 2-10 record, then followed it up with a 6-6 season and two 10-win seasons before moving to Baylor. In Rhule’s second season as the Bears’ head coach, Baylor finished with a 7-6 record, which included a Texas Bowl victory over Vanderbilt.
The successes have come off the field as well for Rhule, especially in recruiting. Following the 1-11 season, Baylor brought in the No. 24 recruiting class, according to ESPN Class Rankings. Rhule kept it up following the bowl season, bringing in the No. 34 class this past off-season.
Baylor football will take the good news into this weekend against Kansas State at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Manhattan, Kan.