Departures And Arrivals

There have been two visceral reactions to my learning of the departure of the last two Temple head football coaches and both occurred while listening to the radio and driving in my car.

The first came when Steve Addazio left and Harry Donahue broke in with the news on the 5:45 p.m. sportscast at KYW with these words: “There has been a coaching change at Temple … “ That perked me up a little because there is never a coaching change at Temple. I thought it might be Tonya Cardoza or some other minor sports coach moving on but instead Harry followed that slight pause with “Steve Addazio is headed to Boston College.”


Hiring an assistant can go one of two ways.

As I made the left turn on Susquehanna Road near the Rydal train station, reaction was pure joy, pounding on the steering wheel and yelling, “Yes, yes, yes!!!”  That also had something to do with Temple never firing head coaches and I felt that Addazio would have to have many 4-7 seasons, not just the one he was coming off of, to be let go at Temple.

I did not want to live through that misery again, and Addazio’s future at Temple had a Ron Dickerson, Jerry Berndt and Bobby Wallace type quality written all over it.

On Tuesday, though, turning into the parking lot at work, the guy on one of the sports talk radio stations said at 11:40 this morning: “This just in: is reporting that Matt Rhule is leaving for Baylor.” The reaction had nothing to do with joy or sorrow and was just a knowing sigh.


I knew this was going to happen last year with the Missouri dalliance when Rhule said he will always listen. I knew it was going to happen when he told a reporter who goes by the name “New Jersey Mike” in June that he cannot make promises, ostensibly to stay at Temple, and I really came to grips with it on Saturday when he told a press conference this telegraphed sentence: “It was a pleasure to have coached these kids.”

Notice the “have coached” part of that statement, which meant, at least to me, that he was not coaching the bowl game.  That’s OK, too, because the sanctions under which he will have to work with are crippling enough. He needs to recruit for Baylor and someone else needs to keep the current Temple recruiting class together (maybe Francis Brown).

I wrote Matt an old-fashioned handwritten letter upon returning home from work and placed it in the neighborhood mailbox after working out at the gym. I hope he gets it:

Dear Matt,

Thank you for giving me last Saturday, the very best of many great days I have spent as a Temple football fan over the last 40 or so years. Thank you for the way you and your wonderful players represented this terrific university and I wish you and your family many similar joyous days like Saturday in the not-too-distant future.

Good Luck,

Mike Gibson

That deals with the departure part of it, and now we get to the arrival area. To me, the university needs to no longer roll the dice with the hiring of an assistant coach. Being an assistant is not the same as being a head coach. It is a totally different job. You can be a great assistant and a terrible head coach. The world is littered with such examples. UConn found that out the hard way by hiring the “hottest” assistant coach available in Bob Diaco and that hiring turned out to be a train wreck.

NO MORE ASSISTANT COACHES. I don’t care if they are hot assistants, cold assistants, lukewarm assistants. Temple University should hire a proven winning head coach who has done it for multiple years at the FBS level, preferably at Temple University.

Al Golden, who has won here as a HEAD COACH, knows how to win and recruit here, is available and the current tight ends coach with the Detroit Lions. Ask yourself if you would rather coach the tight ends at the Lions or be head coach at Temple. He was 32-25 as a head coach under brutal sanctions at Miami and got fired for not achieving unrealistic expectations. He, above all other people, knows the grass is not always greener on the other side of the 10th and Diamond fence. If Golden can make written assurances with an astronomical buyout that guarantees a longer second stay, he is, as Bill Bradshaw wrote on that yellow legal pad in 2005: “Our guy.”

Thursday: Finished Business

56 thoughts on “Departures And Arrivals

  1. Mike was wondering when you would have an article on this. I agree with you about getting someone who was a HC. One problem with that right now is I really believe that the Sun Belt is the only G5 conference out there now where the HCs would consider the AAC a move up. Seems MWC, MAC and CUSA looks at the AAC as a lateral given the latest round of hires. So aside from AG, who else would you have on your list, Edsall, Schaino and Strong have already been mentioned here. You also have someone you had mentioned before Rhule was hired, Pete Lembo who is an assisstant at Maryland. I was also looking at Scott Satterfield at App State.

    What do you think of former FCS HC who are now FBS coordinators, Joe Moorhead being the hot coordinator right now.

    Hope you don’t mind but I referenced your Cincinnati coaching scenario on the Temple Fan FB page as an example of a model Temple should look too for coaching hires going forward.

    • Probably not Schiano. I think he’s a snake-oil salesman. Randy Edsall failed at Maryland and Temple kicked his ass twice under two different coaches. Don’t want. Charlie Strong does not know our recruiting area. Pete Lembo would be a backup candidate to AG. He’s from here and has done it at a harder place to win than Temple. Joe Moorhead would be a backup to AG and PL. All three acceptable. Don’t get me a Diaco, which would potentially be any current assistant who has no HC track record.

      • I don’t think the timing will be right for Todd. He won’t be fired until after the NFL season is over and, by then, Temple will have hired its next coach. If he’s fired tomorrow, he moves to the top of my list simply because Anthony Russo, on this level, is a better quarterback than Ryan Fitzpatrick is at the next level. Football is a quarterback-driven game and, if you don’t have one, it is not fair to be judged as a coach. I can see Todd doing for Temple what John Chaney did. Recruit great urban kids who want to live and play in a great city environment. Todd McNair would be his OC and away we go.

  2. Was waiting for this article. If we must deviate from the rules mentioned in your article, Canada (Pitt OC) would be another name to throw around,

    • we just lost the military bowl.., Snow is taking his key assistants and Glenn Thomas is gone…, guess Foley is going to recruit, run practices, and coach the game with grad assistants?

      bad cycle.., we lose two recruiting classes every five years, one on the front end and one on the back end

      build an on campus stadium, put statues of Pop Warner and Wayne Hardin on the walk and find someone who wants to stay and build a program like the guy at TCU

      • I thought Matt would be a different kind of cat.The lure of money must be a powerful drug. I don’t blame him. Just wish we could find someone who thinks $2.4 million is enough to get by on …

      • Interesting point regarding Snow based on something he said during the post game interviews about telling Rhule it would take a couple of seasons to install his defensive system. I Think Phil has been away from the big conferences for 2 long, if his system is still getting shredded by Oklahoma, TCU, etc he will be looking for new employment. At this point I putting the over/under for Rhule’s tenure at 3.

      • The world is not ending because the head coach left. I do not think Temple will lose this bowl game. The senior class will make sure of that. People that are achievers always look for the next challenge. Rhule achieved a lot in a short period of time and he is onto the next challenge of his life, good for him.

      • The Temple football world will end if Temple makes the same mistake UConn and ECU have made and the same mistakes Temple made with the hirings of Berndt, Dickerson and Wallace. For those who say “everything will be all right” it is sobering to know that Pat Kraft has never made a major HC hiring.

    • He could be the next Diaco or the next Narduzzi. Don’t want. One bad, one good. Do not want to risk the $17 million football facility plus the $2.4 HC salary on a roll of the dice. Proven head coaches over multiple years trending upward with a grasp of our recruiting area. AG is one. Joe Moorhead another. The list is small.

  3. How about Todd Bowles? Don’t think he will be around in Ney York much longer.

  4. Mike that’s why i consider this hire so critical, Temple can either go the way of Cinci 🙂 or the way of UCONN 😦

    • If Temple didn’t have a guy out there who got it done AT TEMPLE, I would said this is a difficult, critical, hire. A lot of Temple people have Al’s number. I hope a few hundred walk up to Pat Kraft and give it to him. (Heck, he even texted our tailgate a couple of years ago and wrote: Go Owls!) There’s always a chance that he would not want the job, but I’d put that chance at 5-7 percent.

  5. If the writing is on the wall with Todd and the Jets something can be worked out now. At first I was thinking that would be a poor move with his poor performance with the Jets. Then I remembered another great College coach who had a bad run with then Jets, Lou Holtz. In fact, he resigned before the Jets last game the season he coached in New York.

  6. I don’t subscribe there anymore but I was curious what some of the comments may have been from the. “Rhule will be here for the long haul because he wants to build something” gang over at Pravda

    • Ha Ha 🙂 🙂 🙂 … great point, JD. I don’t subscribe over there anymore. Shawn Pastor does a much better job with his site.

      • Was just curious due to a comment I read on the Scout board by a big Rhule guy (father of a former player) who had what I found to be an intriguing point in a list of things that may have caused Rhule to feel this was a good time to leave. Something to the effect of maybe he didn’t like the look of his roster for next year. Found that intriguing because correct me if I’m wrong but wouldn’t 2017 be the first season where the roster would be all Rhule recruits with the last of the Addazzio recruits done in 2016 ?

      • you are not wrong. that would be a great comeback.

  7. I immediately thought of Golden when I heard the news. But now that I am thinking about it more, I dont like it at all. He did a great job of building the foundation of this program. But I am not sure he is the right guy to take this program to the next level.

    He was not a great game day coach. His in-game decision making was questionable and he beat a lot of bad MAC teams.

    It kind of reminds me of getting back together with an ex girlfriend. You forget about all of the things that drove you nuts and only remember the good times. Then you get back together and all of those negative things are still there.

    • The moms of recruits love him. Great recruiters. Not a great gameday coach, but neither was Rhule the first two years. A lot of the “gameday” coaching had to do with no QB after ADM. He will have QBs, thanks to Rhule. He will also have ADM, Foley, George DeLeone. Love the continuity that brings.

    • MD,some good points there. If AG came back it would have to be under the condition of no D’Onofrio as DC. Think a couple of good coordinators could mitigate some of the game day issues and leave Golden to be the CEO

      • Agree. I’m not sure AG version 2 is appreciably different then he guy that left us for Miami many years ago but I would hope he’s learned the importance of surrounding yourself with quality staff. MDO was easily the worst DC we’ve had from the past three regimes and I would hope any consideration for hiring AG would specifically omit him.

  8. Hi Mike. Long time! I rather doubt MR’s issue was that he couldn’t live on, or with, $2.4 M. I suspect guys of his makeup are conquerors: got TU up to the heights — conquered that mountain — and how sees another, higher, challenge.

    • Hey, Rob. Thanks for checking in … sorry I missed you at the tailgates this year (again). If you are in Annapolis, let me know. To your point, I would only believe what you are saying IF Baylor said: “Matt, having conquered that mountain, are you interested in another, higher, mountain? We can only match your Temple salary, though.” Somehow, the mountain looks different in the distance given that scenario. Gotta wonder how much is too much money. Maybe AG learned that lesson. I’m sure Daz is as well.

    • They are called high achievers and they thrive on challenges. Rhule is one of them. From a positive perspective, the AAC has lost four coaches to p-6 jobs (Memphis last year, Temple, USF and Houston this year) The upper echelon of the conference is on par with the mid-level p-6 schools. I think that bodes well for the conference moving forward.

  9. Two questions. Have all the assistant coaches left as well? Did AG ever beat a MAC team with a winning record? I find this all terribly depressing given that it comes before our bowl game.

  10. I believe neither Daz or Al coached a W against a MAC team with a winning record. Recall the stumble against Ohio for the east title, L’s to WMU and NIU over the years, and the last second Buffalo debacle.

    Next season’s game with Houston will have a pretty good story of how 2016’s big teams are faring with new coaches.

    Re; Diaco, UConn simply cannot afford to fire him. They have to endure him for another season. Attendance there is dwindling so that ex-Auburn AD will make a recommendation to his BoT and get the go-ahead late next year. Then he will reach into his SEC background and pull someone into that post (Chizik?)

    • Who were Al’s quarterbacks after ADM? Vaughn Charlton, Mike Gerardi and Chester Stewart. Al’s best team was the nine-win squad and, to win nine games with those guys is a big-time achievement. Not concerned that he will have similar troubles in the Russo Era.

      • Really believe the promise of Russo will add to the allure of the Temple job. If Temple is seen as a 3-5 year gig on the path to a P5 job, then what better QB would you want to have for most of that period.

  11. Realistically, what is the soonest you think we could / will have a new HC on board. Who do you think will stick around to maintain the current recruiting class

    • Anywhere between Dec. 12 and Dec.29. That is the time frame we hired Golden, Daz and Rhule. Ed Foley will stick around, as will Francis Brown and Robinson and Adam DiMichele. I think Foley will be HC/ST coach in the bowl game and ADM will be OC with Robinson as DC. They will all keep the recruiting class together. I hope Anthony Russo will help out keeping the recruits as well. He did a terrific job helping with the recruiting of Blackshear this year and Tyriek Raynor last year.

  12. Speaking of NFLers, can’t believe you didn’t mention Bruce Arians. Maybe he’d like to retire at Temple like Wayne Hardin did? Also, why so hot on Golden. He never beat a winning MAC team and regardless of the mess at Miami, he sort of petered out there but had 5 years to improve things. He’s a good guy though, but I wonder if he can keep the program rising. Please, what’s up with Snow (I thought maybe could step in) and Thomas. KJs comment says they’re gone too? This pulling coaches away before bowl games really sucks. There’s really no patience and little decency/consideration in America anymore

    • Golden took over the worst situation possibly ever in I-A football. I would be happy with him back as long as it also means new coordinators……..AG was too loyal to his DC and it cost him the Miami job. I think it’s kind of funny that Miami replaced him with Mark Richt; who was fired at Georgia for being pretty much a slightly better, but really similar version of Al Golden……

  13. All the G-5 jobs are stepping stones. That’s the reality of it. But the Temple job can be the best of them because if a coach is getting results, the Phila media will tell the world and make that coach more attractive to the P-5’s. Downside is having to replace him every three/four years.

  14. Mike, very cogent article. We can all agree this next hire is crucial to build upon what this amazing program has already accomplished. My biggest concern is one you already mentioned, pay. If we cannot compete financially for a top tier talent this revolving door will keep spinning. Call it the “arms race” or not, it’s still true.

    Second biggest concern, which ties into the first, is the financial, operational, and strategic commitment from the BOT. Would I love for Golden to come back? Heck yeah, but I don’t think he ever would. Still no stadium. Still a mediocre football commitment from the uni.

    Hypothetically we could literally win THE national championship and I still don’t think the board would do much more to support the program besides increase the marketing budget.

    • Temple cannot pay p-6 money for a coach because of the difference in revenues between p-6 schools and p 5 schools. Many of the p-6 have their own networks or mega tv deals and are swimming in money, p-5 schools cannot compete due to the schism that has occurred. You have two choices, hire an up and comer and know he will leave when he is successful for a p-6 school such as Golden, Addazio and Rhule did or hire an older retread who has been there done that a p-6 school and would be happy at Temple. I will take the up and comer because the coaches we have lost to move up speaks to our success not our failure. We no longer have to settle for failures like Berndt, Dickerson and Wallace.

  15. Sorry but not at all surprised on Rhule, Truth be told many of us were hyper critical of Rhule and Snow thru the years. Also, what type of Coach of Football coach at the young age of 42-43 would not jump at a big-time school opportunity.
    What I want to complain about here is the Philly Sports and News who had Little to Zero weekly reporting or support for Temple Football. But NOW, Oh Boy, the lead story about another coach leaving Temple. I say these creeps in the news/sports business helped to push coaches out the door because they did nothing to create a supportive atmosphere. From what I see, many other schools and local cities have a supporting media.
    Philly is a strange place with all the PennStateWannaBees on Radio and TV and Newspapers.
    To them I say F**U*** It that loud and clear ?

  16. that guy has serious issues.., are we going to forfeit the bowl game? or are going to have player coaches?

    • Maybe the OwlClub can put together a premium package for the game. You know see the game up close and personal from the sidelines and get to coach a few series as well. 🙂

      • sounds like a great plan.., do you think armchairs would allowed on the sidelines? we do have compelling reasons for an exception to policy…,

        seriously, the entire D staff is gone, the strength training staff, and Glenn Thomas.., who is devising the game plan to beat Wake? this is a shame and borderline crime.., the NCAA should consider adopting methods to protect bowl games.., and it is not good for TV, an ill-prepared conference champion getting a beat down from a 6-6 team..,

  17. I got the plays right here: Reverse pass by Wright, healthy dose of screen passes to Jahad, Ryquell with the toss behind No. 66, throwback pass to the tight end, Nicky Sharga with a couple of dives and some sideline patterns to Ventell. 🙂

  18. Reposting this after posting it to the prior article comments. Apologies for the double posting.

    I get the sense from comments on this site and others that people are looking to either not go to the bowl game, or, wish they hadn’t bought their tickets for it. All because of Rhule’s departure. Seems like it’s the time to step and show support for the program. I have family commitments that day and I’m trying to rearrange things so I can attend the game for that very reason. Let’s get a grip on reality. Expect coaches that win championships here to take other jobs. It happens. Even the top P5 schools lose coaches to the pros. So go to the bowl game. We’re still looking for the 11th win that will make this the most accomplished team in TU history.

    Regarding Rhule, Best Wishes and Good Luck. He’ll need it. Can’t see how he makes it to a fifth year. Just too much to overcome including unrealistic expectations of the big money boosters. (Plus he’s not a Texan. It matters down there.)

    I really liked Jon’s summary (in the prior article comments) of other things Rhule could have looked to accomplish. Another one would be a NY6 bowl after an undefeated season. I still think there might be a coach that comes to TU with HC experience, maybe a little older (50’s), who made a lot of money at the P5 level and now wants a good program, moderate pressure to win, great location to live and can feed his family on $2 million/year. I know it sounds like a Strong or Golden. We should be so lucky.

    • If my memory is correct, when Addazio became head coach at Temple he was on the sidelines for Florida’s Bowl game that year. Matt finished the season with the Giants. I do not remember if Al Golden was on the sidelines for Virginias bowl game before starting at Temple. Based on this, assuming the assistants are going to Baylor, why would they not be on the sidelines for our bowl game?

  19. during the press conference when someone mentioned Temple being ranked and Rhule said, “wow, I didn’t know that”.., I thought that was odd at the time..,

    now in context his deal was already done, and the rankings didn’t matter so he wasn’t tracking it anymore..,

    I give him credit and thanks for not making this a distraction going into the conference championship.., he learned from last year and finally all the MRAs must admit it was a distraction last year..,

    loyalty to the school first and foremost, coaches will always come and go.., alumni are Temple for Life, we don’t leave

  20. I used the “google news” feature on “Matt Rhule” a few times over the past 2 weeks to see if anything was being written nationally about Rhule and another job and nothing popped except for the article by Mike Jensen (Inqy) about Rhule taking the Notre Dame job if available.

    He kept it quiet this year, no Mizzou baiting like last year.

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