Baylor Bears

How ‘Fixer Upper’ hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines helped turn around Baylor football

Baylor football coach Matt Rhule is in the middle of a magical rebuilding project with the Bears’ program.

And he may have been inspired by a couple of fellow Waco fixer-uppers.

Rhule, who is in his third season, said popular television hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines helped sway him towards taking the job back in 2015.

The Gaineses’ hit HGTV show “Fixer Upper” is based in Waco.

When Rhule was still the coach at Temple, he had multiple job options when he chose Baylor, which was reeling from the Art Briles-era sexual assault scandal that crippled the program.

The Bears are 7-0 and tied atop the Big 12 standings at 4-0. They have bye this week and host West Virginia on Halloween night at McLane Stadium in Waco.

Rhule, who was a guest on “The Musers” morning show on KTCK/1310 The Ticket, explained the small role the show played in his families’ decision to take the job in Waco.

“We knew we were leaving Temple and we were trying to decide between a couple of jobs,” he said. “I thought our familiarity with the area based on the TV show helped.”

And when the decision was made, the show helped explain the move to their eldest child, sixth grader Bryant.

“The first thing [my wife Julie] did was show him a couple of episodes of ‘Fixer Upper’ just so he knew exactly where we were moving,” Rhule said with a chuckle.

The Rhules have been impressed with the Gaines’ commitment to the community their charitable work. And Bears’ fans have treated him well.

“I think people recognize that I didn’t have to take this job,” he said. “It [was] a hard job, not just for me, but the 30 other people who work for me who all made the decision to come to Baylor and come to Waco because we believed that we could do it and we could do it the right way.”

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.