By Mary Cunningham

Temple football fans can stop holding their breath.

Coach Matt Rhule is staying!

Coming off an historically successful season at Temple, Rhule was one of the hot names on the still-spinning coaching carousel. But he will remain with the Owls thanks to a new contract.

Temple announced this afternoon that Rhule has agreed to a six-year contract to remain as the head football coach of the Owls.  The new deal would keep Rhule at Temple through the 2021 season.

The financial terms are not being disclosed, although it’s safe to assume that a raise is involved.  Of the 10 AAC coaches listed in the USA Today database, Rhule’s $648,633 salary in 2015 was dead last.

“Matt is one of the top coaches in college football and has been responsible for making Temple a national program,” said athletic director Patrick Kraft. “He is an even better person off the field; a true leader who instills character and values in the men under his charge. I look forward to working with Matt in continuing to advance the program for many years to come.”

Rhule is in his third season at Temple. Prior to a one-year stint as an assistant with the New York Giants in 2012, Rhule was an Owls assistant for six seasons.

Following a two-win first season in 2013, Rhule’s Owls won six games in 2014 and then 10 in this season to set a school record. The Owls also claimed the AAC East before losing to Houston in the conference championship game this past weekend.

Temple will be bowling this year for the first time since 2011, with a date against Toledo in the Boca Raton Bowl announced Sunday.

“While this has been such a special season, there is still so much more that Temple football can accomplish,” Rhule said. “I am proud to coach such incredible student-athletes and I am honored to continue to be a part of the Temple community.”