First-year Baylor football coach Matt Rhule said he and his family have felt welcomed by the Waco community since his arrival in December.

Rhule made his remarks before a packed crowd Tuesday at the Ferrell Center at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce’s annual kickoff luncheon.

Rhule became Baylor’s coach after a four-year head coaching stint at Temple University in Philadelphia.

“People here have been awesome and inspiring,” Rhule said. “It’s been one of the kindest times I’ve experienced in my life.”

The Bears have been in preseason camp for nearly four weeks preparing for the Sept. 2 season opener against Liberty at McLane Stadium. He said fans should expect to see a team that will work hard and players that have each other’s backs.

“I want our fans to see a team that will pick each other up if things go wrong and will fight every day,” Rhule said. “Our camp has been about trying to build as a team but also reconnecting to people on campus.”

After the sexual assault scandal that has rocked Baylor, Rhule has put an emphasis on developing players who do things the right way on and off the field.

“I’m so proud of the 1,000 community service hours our players have done,” Rhule said. “I’ve seen their pride growing as they’ve connected to the community. Everything counts: school, community. It’s not just what we do but how we do it.”