New Baylor head coach Matt Rhule knew the challenges that came with accepting the job in Waco. But he also saw tremendous opportunity that included playing in a great conference at a university that shares his personal values.
Rhule spoke during the second day of Big 12 Media Days July 18.
“What I did not know was just how many phenomenal people there are at Baylor University and really, in part, in the entire community,” he said. “Men and women who are committed to education, to faith, to service, to leadership, and to helping the young people in the state of Texas and at our university become the best it can be.”
Part of that, he said, is serving as a symbol for change when it comes to sexual assaults on campus. Baylor has been in the news for a long time for alleged sexual assaults committed by former football players, according to reports.
The university has instituted educational initiatives related to character, decision-making, respecting others and Title IX, though Rhule said he wouldn’t get into specifics.
Culture is a word Rhule uses plenty. He knows what he wants the Bears to look like and the qualities he wants the team to have thanks to playing for Joe Paterno at Penn State and being around Tom Coughlin.
“We’re trying to build a culture of excellence where everything counts,” he said. “Where every single day, whatever you’re asked to do, you do it to the best of your ability. What you do off the field, what you do in the classroom, how you treat other people is just as important as how you run a curl, how you run a post.”
Rhule said it’s important to him to acknowledge what Baylor is facing head-on so the university doesn’t repeat its past.
“I don’t know everything that happened, but I just know something happened that was wrong,” he said. “I feel like I’m called to be here and to be here in this moment and to kind of fix this.”
As for football, Rhule mentioned one area of concern — offensive line depth.
The Bears have three returners: Pat Lawrence, Blake Blackmar, Ishmael Wilson. A fourth, Maurice Porter, has played a lot but hasn’t been a starter. Three true freshmen are projected second-stringers.
“Really no one can get hurt on the offensive line,” the coach said. “They’re just not allowed to.”
Baylor will start training camp July 27.