WATCH: Matt Rhule introduced as Nebraska Football Head Coach
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Matt Rhule era of Nebraska Football has begun.
The new Husker head coach arrived at the Lincoln airport with his family in tow around 8:15 a.m. Monday, shaking hands with Athletic Director Trev Alberts as soon as he got off the plane.
There was more pomp and circumstance with this coaching announcement than in years past. Prior to the introductory press conference, the band played and Rhule addressed a crowd outside of Memorial Stadium. He promised fans he’d get to work right away to build a team they can be proud of.
“We’re here because of a tremendous tradition but also because of a great, great future,” Rhule said. “I can promise you this. As soon as this is done - I’ll start tonight - we might have started last night - to build the best football team, a team that you guys deserve and a team that every time you come watch us play, you’re going to love the way that we play.”
Alberts began his remarks in the press conference by thanking Mickey Joseph for doing an outstanding job as interim head coach. It’s still unclear if he’ll have a role on the new staff. Rhule said he reached out to Joseph initially when he got the job, but still needs to talk to the current coaching staff.
“I think Mickey did a fantastic job...I’m anxious to have a visit with him and the rest of the staff,” Rhule said.
Alberts said he interacted with 13 coaches as potential head coach hires, but Rhule was always his top choice.
Some of the coaching characteristics Alberts said he was looking for in the next head coach included an authentic leader, man of integrity, culture builder, detail oriented, grinder/hard worker and a strategic thinker. He said he found those things in Coach Rhule.
Rhule said he received other college coaching offers, on-air broadcast opportunities and even considered taking a year off, but the amount of resources and support for the Nebraska Football program drew him to the position.
Nebraska’s deal with Rhule was finalized on Thanksgiving morning and the new coach was in Lincoln this weekend checking out his new home.
“As I talked to Trev, the passion for football was reborn inside me,” Rhule said. “The passion for young people was born inside me. When we came to Lincoln, when we snuck into Lincoln, and we drove around, we said ‘you know, this is a place that’s committed to greatness. This is a place that’s committed. Look at this facility that’s committed to player development. These are people that love their university, love their state, and love their football team.’”
The new coach preached a blue-collar, hard-working mentality.
The Huskers announced Rhule’s hire on Saturday morning. Rhule most recently coached the Carolina Panthers. Before that, he led impressive turnarounds as head football coach at both Baylor and Temple.
Details of Rhule’s contract were also released on Monday – which is an eight-year, $74 million agreement. Ninety percent of that money is guaranteed.
The contract also sets aside $7 million for Rhule to hire 10 assistant coaches.
In addition, there are numerous incentives built into the deal. If Rhule can make the Big Ten Championship game, he is owed an additional $250K, and another $300K if he is able to win it.
If the Huskers make a bowl game under Rhule that is not the College Football Playoff, he will earn $150K, and $250K if he does make the College Football playoff.
The contract states that he will earn $350K if he wins a playoff game that is not the national championship and is owed $650K if the Huskers win the national title.
Also in the contract, Rhule is provided up to 50 hours of private non-commercial flight time for personal use per calendar year.
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