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Panthers hire Rhule, Giants zero in on Judge

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Los Angeles (AFP)

The Carolina Panthers named Matt Rhule as the franchise's fifth head coach on Tuesday, as the New York Giants finalised a deal with New England Patriots assistant coach Joe Judge.

The Panthers confirmed former Baylor University coach Rhule would replace Ron Rivera, who was axed last month after the team's humiliating loss to Washington.

Panthers owner David Tepper said the 44-year-old Rhule had the skill-set required to build a dynasty.

"I think Matt Rhule can come in here and build an organization for the next 30 or 40 years," Tepper said. "He can build it."

Tepper said he had made up his mind about offering the head coaching position to Rhule midway through his interview on Monday.

"He's impressive in player development and sports science -- recovery techniques, intensity of training, integration with the strength program," Tepper said.

"He started talking about how he develops players and how he's going to pick his staff, and we all went from being in interview mode to recruiting mode. Everybody just knew. We switched without a word being said."

Rhule has a track record of turning around unsuccessful teams in college gridiron, transforming Baylor from a 1-11 team in 2017 to an 11-3 outfit in 2019.

He had performed a similar feat at Temple University from 2013-2016, going from a 2-10 record in his first season to consecutive 10-win campaigns.

His only previous work in the NFL came in 2012 during a stint as the New York Giants offensive line coach.

Rhule had been due to interview with the Giants on Tuesday for their head coaching position.

The Giants have instead opted for New England's special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Judge to replace the fired Pat Shurmur, according to reports on Tuesday.

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