Baylor University formally introduced Matt Rhule as its new head football coach on Wednesday. Rhule – the university’s 27th head coach – comes to Baylor’s campus in the wake of a sexual assault scandal that saw the firing of Art Briles fired and resignation of athletic director Ian McCaw.
“I’m here…to develop and work with these young people,” Rhule told a crowd of students, regents and fans. “I’m here to coach football and be the best part I can [be] for Baylor.”
Rhule, a preacher’s son, was hired from Temple University where he served as head football coach for four years. He was introduced to an eager crowd at the Ferrell Center by interim president David Garland and Mack Rhoades, the school’s new athletic director.
“Matt is the absolute right man at the right time to lead us forward and I am confident that his values are our values and that his teams and student-athletes will make us all proud, on and off the field,” Garland said in a press release.
When asked about player conduct, Rhule said certain offenses wouldn’t be tolerated.
“You can’t hurt women, you can’t hurt people that are less fortunate than you, you can’t bully other people."
Rhule, who played football at Penn State, said he was aware of requirements involving campus safety, including reporting under the Clery Act, adding he became familiar of similar regulations put in place following the child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State in 2011.
"The regulations that we had to go through after everything that emerged at Penn State, within the state of Pennsylvania, I became an expert in it there."
After the press conference, Rhule received a Texas-welcome from students in the stands. A pair of Baylor undergraduates brought the new head coach a pack of Dr. Pepper and a Cowboy hat.
“I promise to take care of this program that belongs to so many of you," Rhule told the crowd. "And I’m so grateful that you would trust me with this tremendous team and tremendous group of young men.”