Like Punxsutawney Phil, former Panthers coach Matt Rhule spent six weeks in purgatory after being asked to take his shadow, and the rest of his body, back home.
Now, all of a sudden, Rhule is everywhere. Talking and writing about football in an extensive and apparently concerted effort to get his name out there. Just as college football season is winding to a conclusion.
When Panthers owner David Tepper fired Rhule, the thinking was that, by getting Rhule on the market quickly for a head-coaching job, he’d be in a better position to reduce his buyout by lining up a prime college job. Apparently, Rhule isn’t getting the response he’d expected.
Why else would he be launching an all-out media tour? He’s banging the drum. He’s waving the flag. He’s trying to get some attention at a time when college programs are compiling their wish lists.
As one astute observer has noted, Rhule thought he’d get the Nebraska or Wisconsin job. Now, he may be left with Arizona State. Or maybe West Virginia, if the folks 30 miles up the road from me dig deep to pay the balance the amounts due and owing to a head coach who clearly needs to go.
Rhule has shown that he can turn college programs around, quickly. Of course, if he takes anything other than a first-tier job as he rebounds from failing in the NFL, he’ll undoubtedly be looking to turn another team around — and then high-tail it to a bigger job.