The University of the Cumberlands (UC) football team has had a long history of success. Notably under the John Bland era, the Patriots have been able to win 4 Mid-South Conference titles, 5 NAIA FCS Playoff appearances, 2 playoff victories, and a slew of All-American and All-Conference honorees.
One big reason for the success of the program is due to the great coaches that spend countless hours and time putting the players and team in position to succeed on and off the field. So when a team is this successful there are no doubt coaches will be noticed, and recently one former Patriot coach and player has received an opportunity of a lifetime.
Matt Rhymer was recently named head coach of the South Laurel High School Cardinals in London, KY. This will be Coach Rhymer's first head coaching job and one that he is excited about.
Rhymer was graduated from the University of the Cumberlands in 2007 with a degree in Public Health. He played football for the Patriots from 2003-2007 as a linebacker on a highly respected defensive unit. After graduation, Matt continued his education as he earned the opportunity to be a Graduate Assistant Coach for the Patriots and work on his Masters' Degree in education. Rhymer's ability to pay attention to detail, grasp defensive concepts, and connect with his players gave him the opportunity to become a great coach.
After 5 seasons of assisting in guiding one of the better defenses in the nation, along with coaching a handful of All-Americans and All-Conference players on his defensive line, he took to the high school ranks as an offensive line and defensive back coach for Oneida High School in Oneida, Tennessee. After just one year, Rhymer interviewed for the Head Coach opening at South Laurel High School and was chosen to guide the South Laurel Cardinals.
This is a great opportunity for Matt, as he will now have an opportunity of a lifetime to finally take full control of a program and run it his way. Patriots Head Coach John Bland is thrilled for his former assistant saying, "I am very excited for Coach Rhymer. I believe that he will do a great job for South Laurel because he is a man of great character and he has a passion for coaching. That passion has developed young student athletes into great football players and teammates, but more importantly, developing boys into men."
Much like most new head coaching jobs it will be a challenge for Coach Rhymer as he will take over a team that was 1-10 last season and 6-25 the past 3 seasons. With Coach Rhymer's track record and the things he has learned at Cumberlands and through his life in football, he will have a huge impact on this program and will develop boys into men in the process.
For more information on the Patriot Football program along with other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.
Article by Jordan Gossett, UC Multimedia & Athletic Services Graduate Assistant