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Report: Dallas Cowboys are ‘Keenly Interested’ in Lincoln Riley, Matt Rhule

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Baylor

The Dallas Cowboys could be looking for a new head coach soon. And that search could take them to the Big 12 Conference. 

Last month Vegas oddsmakers had University of Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley and Baylor University head coach Matt Rhule on a list of coaches that could be candidates for the Cowboys’ head-coaching job, should it come open. To be fair, there were other Big 12 coaches on the list. But CBSSports.com put a finer point on Riley and Rhule on Saturday.

Jason La Canfora reported that Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has been “keenly interested” in both Riley and Rhule for quite some time. Jones has plucked coaches from the college ranks before. His first hire as Cowboys owner was University of Miami (FL) head coach Jimmy Johnson, who led the Cowboys to two Super Bowl titles in the 1990s. Jones’ next hire was former Oklahoma head coach Barry Switzer, who oversaw the Cowboys’ third Super Bowl title of the 1990s. 

 

The Cowboys have not launched a full-scale coaching search since it hired Wade Phillips for the 2007 season. Garrett was a member of Phillips’ staff as offensive coordinator and was elevated to interim head coach in 2010 and given the full-time job before the 2011 season. Should Jones fire Garrett — or should Garrett walk away from the Cowboys, as he is in the final year of his contract — Jones is expected to launch an expansive search for a new head coach.

Riley has led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff each of the past three seasons and has produced back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners in quarterbacks Baker Mayfield (2017) and Kyler Murray (2018). His quarterback this year, Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts, finished second in Heisman voting. Jones is long-time friends with Switzer and could pick the College Football Hall of Famer’s brain for intel on Riley. 

Rhule has now rebuilt two programs in the FBS ranks — Temple and Baylor. With the Bears, in just three years, he’s taken them from a one-win team to the Big 12 Championship game and a New Year’s Six bowl game. While Rhule’s career has primarily been in the college ranks, he did spend one year with the New York Giants as an assistant offensive line coach under Tom Coughlin. The following year he took the head-coaching job at Temple. Because of Rhule’s time at New York, La Canfora reports that the Giants have an “affinity” for Rhule if the team decides to fire Pat Shurmur.

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