Matt Rhule won't be the Giants' next head coach.
The Carolina Panthers are finalizing a deal to hire the Baylor coach, Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel first reported Tuesday morning. NFL Network and ESPN have confirmed that the Panthers are hiring Rhule.
It's a stinging blow to the Giants' coaching search. Rhule, who had been scheduled to interview with the team Tuesday, was the team's preferred choice to succeed the fired Pat Shurmur, according to multiple reports.
It's the second time in two days Big Blue has lost a serious candidate to another team. On Monday, the Cowboys reportedly hired former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who had interviewed with the Giants over the weekend.
The Giants have also interviewed Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Cowboys defensive passing game coordinator Kris Richard, Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale and New England special teams coordinator/wide receivers coach Joe Judge. They are scheduled to meet with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on Wednesday. And on Monday night, the New York Post reported that the Giants might also consider former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett if talks with Rhule went south.
Rhule, 44, has turned around two college programs at Baylor and Temple. This season, the Bears went 11-3, played in the Sugar Bowl and are ranked eighth in the AP Top 25.
A New York City native, Rhule spent the 2012 season as the Giants' assistant offensive line coach under Tom Coughlin.
Rhule interviewed for the Jets opening last year, but had differences with the team over selecting his coaching staff and removed himself from consideration, according to reports.