Just a few days after it came to light, the nightmare scenario for fans of the No. 22 Temple Owls may already be a thing of the past.
OwlScoop.com’s Kyle Gauss reported on Tuesday that Temple head coach Matt Rhule is no longer a candidate for the open head coaching position at Missouri.
This comes after news broke on Saturday night during Temple’s 27-3 AAC East Division-clinching win over Connecticut that Missouri athletic director Mack Rhoades would be in Philadelphia the following day to speak with Rhule.
While a source confirmed Rhule did meet with Rhoades on Sunday, there was no confirmation as to whether or not Rhule removed his name from consideration or if Missouri decided to move in another direction.
Missouri, a member of the powerful SEC, is looking for a new head coach because longtime head coach Gary Pinkel is retiring due to a recent non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis.
Much like he did when asked on Saturday, Rhule, who will lead the Owls into Houston to play the No. 19 Cougars (11-1) on Saturday afternoon in the AAC title game, played coy when asked about the Missouri rumors during his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
“This is unique and wonderful week in Temple football history,” Rhule said. “To fans, to everybody — don’t waste it thinking about me. This is awesome. This is championship week. Don’t waste it thinking about me. I’m right here. Go enjoy the week.
“These kids have earned this. I’m never going to talk about me. I’m never going to talk about anything with contracts because this program is not about me. It’s about these players and if I feel like I’m ever talking about me, I’m disrespecting them. … I love these players, I can assure you of that. And I love Temple University.”
Junior running back Jahad Thomas said Rhule spoke to the team about what was going on and has kept an open dialogue with the players.
"He made a great comment when he told us, 'If someone wants to interview you, you've got to sit down and listen and talk to them. But that doesn't mean you're going anywhere,'" Thomas said.
Rhule is 18-18 in his three seasons at Temple, his first collegiate head coaching job.
He’s engineered a tremendous turnaround at Temple that has seen the program skyrocket from an ugly 2-10 record in 2013 to its current 10-2 record and national ranking.
This season’s success has the Owls not only on the brink of a conference championship, but, with a win on Saturday, also a likely New Year’s Six bowl bid to either the Fiesta Bowl or Peach Bowl as the highest-ranked team from a non-Power 5 conference.
Kickoff for Saturday’s conference title game is slated for noon ET.