Matt Rhule sat with his wife in a restaurant in his hometown of New York City last December. He had been offered the head coach job at Baylor, more than 1,600 miles away.
"We sat there . . . saying 'Where do we go, what do we do? Where are we being pulled? Where does God want us to be?" he told the Dallas Morning News. "And we looked at each other over a plate of ponzu shrimp and I figured out right then that we'd been called to Baylor."
The then-41-year-old Temple head coach had recruited in and visited Texas but never coached in the state. In fact, Rhule had never coached anywhere near Texas; the closest being a four-year assistant stint at Western Carolina.
One of three first-year head coaches in the Big 12, Matt Rhule comes the farthest distance from his birthplace of any coach in the conference, by a mile — well actually by 514 miles over the next closest coach, Tom Herman (1,129).
He is also one of only three Big 12 coaches who do not hail from Big 12 country — defined as all states home to a Big 12 institution plus Missouri.
The average distance between birthplace and current city is 609 miles, while the median is 498. Half of the 10 coaches come from Texas (three) or Ohio (two) and two coaches — Mike Gundy and Kiliff Kinsbury — are coaching in their birth state. None of the 10 are coaching in their birth city.
Gundy is 65 miles from his birthplace of Midwest City, Okla. — the shortest distance in the conference. Bill Snyder, though not coaching in his birth state, is just 132 miles from St. Joseph, Mo.
|Baylor||Matt Rhule||New York||NY||1,643|
|Iowa State||Matt Campbell||Massillon||OH||716|
|Kansas State||Bill Snyder||St. Joseph||MO||132|
|Oklahoma State||Mike Gundy||Midwest City||OK||65|
|Texas Tech||Kliff Kingsbury||San Antonio||TX||385|
|West Virginia||Dana Holgorsen||Davenport||IA||681|