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Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Matt Rhule Speaking at THSCA Coaching School Football Assembly This Morning

July 18, 2023

Call it a homecoming. A kind of family reunion with approximately 22,000 relatives.

Nebraska sent a six-person contingent to Houston for this year’s Texas High School Coaches Association Coaching School. The annual event features coaches and administrators across all sports, although football definitely holds a spotlight. The convention began on Sunday and continues through Tuesday. Nebraska is represented from start to finish.

Head coach Matt Rhule, a member of the THSCA, makes his return to coaching school this morning. Rhule became a regular attendee while at Baylor and returned even when coaching the Carolina Panthers. It was at a THSCA general meeting where Rhule spoke about toughness, which has since gone viral time after time.

Secondary coach and defensive pass game coordinator Evan Cooper, tight end coach Bob Wager, wide receiver coach Garret McGuire, defensive line coach Terrance Knighton, special teams assistant Josh Martin and chief of staff Dr. Susan Elza are also among Nebraska’s representatives at coaching school. Wager made his Texas debut at THSCA coaching school, having driven straight from Massachusetts after college. Cooper and Knighton both spent time in Texas recruiting and coaching at camps. Elza attends her first coaching school since 2014 not as a University Interscholastic League representative. She served as the UIL athletic director since then, which earned her induction into the Texas High School Athletic Directors Hall of Fame. Martin is a Texas native and son of current THSCA president Joe Martin.

Coaching school provides consistent educational courses and networking opportunities. This year’s convention includes 32 meetings, 16 press conferences, 10 designed networking events and eight panel discussions. All sports are included and recognized, allowing Texas high school coaches in all sports to gain knowledge. SEC Commission Greg Sankey, Minnesota Assistant Athletic Director Hugh McCutcheon, Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt, Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte and Texas A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork are among administrators speaking. The convention also includes a full panel of every Texas FBS head coach. Tulane head coach Willie Fritz, current North Carolina head coach and Texas legend Mack Brown and South Carolina head coach Shane Beemer all made presentations.

The THSCA hosted a coaches social on Monday night, which featured Rhule and his staff. Rhule is scheduled to speak in the football general assembly on Tuesday at 8 a.m. He made a more low-key appearance on Monday afternoon and spoke about the importance of adding high school coaches to his staff.

Nebraska’s efforts to embolden ties to Texas are well documented. The Huskers signed six from Texas in the 2023 recruiting class and seven are committed in the 2024 recruiting class. Nebraska hosted two satellite camps in the Lone Star State this summer. The football program even purchased a full-page ad in the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Summer Edition, commonly referred to in those circles as “The Bible.” The ad involves pictures of Wager, McGuire, Martin, Elza, defensive coordinator Tony White (who grew up in El Paso) and Rhule. At the bottom, it reads: “The University of Nebraska football staff would like to wish all Texas high school football coaches the best of luck in the 2023 football season. Go Big Red!” Circulation for this year’s summer edition has already surpassed 100,000 copies.

The return to Texas is already a joyous one for some. One of Elza’s first tweets from coaching school included her and Wager with Hall of Fame high school coach D.W. Rutledge. He’s a former THSCA president and is still the most successful high school football coach in the state of Texas with a 198-31-5 record.

Nebraska coaches and staffers get short week-long break from the networking. Big Ten Media Days follows next week, starting on Wednesday, July 26. Nebraska—represented by Rhule, quarterback Jeff Sims, offensive lineman Ethan Piper and linebacker Luke Reimer—holds court the next day.

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