“Mr. Lurie is very determined to do this. He wants to win a championship,” Rhodes said during his introductory press conference. “He reminds me of the commitment that (49ers owner Eddie) DeBartolo has. When we had conversations during my interview, Mr. Lurie and I shared some of the same thoughts in terms of how we feel about situations. He’s determined to win, I’m committed to winning.
“I’ve always wanted to be a head coach. I’m ready to be a head coach. I have a game plan that I’ve been working on for three or four years, during which time I’ve had people and situations to Head training isn’t something I came into today unprepared…it’s not something that came overnight.
After opening with a 1-3 record, Rhodes guided the Eagles to seven wins in their next eight games, finishing 10-6 in his first season. After overseeing that turnaround and guiding the Eagles to the playoffs for the first time in three years, Rhodes was named NFL Coach of the Year.
“I was very excited. It meant a lot to me at the time,” he says. “It was a very exciting time.”
The following year was also exciting. Posting another 10-6 record, Rhodes became the first coach to lead the Eagles to the playoffs in each of his first two seasons. Things, however, took a turn in 1997 when injuries were a huge factor. Compiling a 6-9-1 record, Philadelphia had 42 different players going into a game, including three different quarterbacks: Ty Detmer, Rodney Peete and Bobby Hoying.
The 1998 campaign was unfortunately worse and Rhodes was substituted after the team went 3-13.
“Well, I haven’t won a championship. I’ve been to the playoffs a few times, but I really thought the players were going and getting better,” Rhodes said. “There are a lot of things that I’m proud of that happened in Philadelphia. The people I worked with in Philadelphia were all good people.”
Rhodes is now enjoying his well-deserved retirement. He and his wife, Carmen, who reside in Allen, Texas, have four daughters: Detra, Candra, Tynesha and Raven; and several grandchildren.
On May 7, Rhodes was inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame.
After his second year at Dunbar High School, Rhodes transferred to Mexia High School in 1967, where he played an important role in integrating the school. An outstanding running back and defensive back, Rhodes has also made letters in basketball and athletics.
“I’m very excited about it,” he says. “They did a good job. The function was extremely well organized. It was good.”