Rhule succeeds Ron Rivera in Charlotte, who went 76–63 in nine years with the team. The ex-Baylor coach was expected to interview with the New York Giants for their respective vacancy, but never met with the team's front office. The Cleveland Browns were also interested in Rhule.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Panthers were down to New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Rhule. Panthers owner David Tepper met with Rhule and his family in Waco and reached a deal before Rhule could travel to meet the Giants. Rhule gave the Giants an opportunity to match Carolina’s deal, but New York declined and opted to hire Patriots special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Joe Judge, Rapoport adds.
Rhule is coming off an 11–3 season at Baylor that finished with a loss to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day. In September, Rhule signed a contract extension that would have kept him in Waco through the 2027 season.
Rhule took over Baylor's program after Art Briles was fired over the mishandling of accusations of sexual assault by players and other misconduct. The team went 1–11 in 2017 and then 7–6 in 2018. Rhule also previously coached at Temple and went 28–23 in four seasons.
Rhule's lone season with the New York Giants as the offensive line coach in 2012 is the extent of his NFL coaching experience.