Learning From History


Geoff Collins looks like Dan Klecko in this photo.

Already, the testimonials are pouring in as a great Power 5 defensive coordinator is hired by an AAC school.

Got to love this quote from his former head coach:

“He’s a top-notch recruiter, a tremendous leader of young men and a brilliant coach.”

A quote about new Temple head coach Geoff Collins from Florida head coach Jim McElwain?

Could be, but that quote was uttered three years ago yesterday by Brian Kelly, the head coach at Notre Dame, about Bob Diaco, the new head coach at UConn. On that day, Notre Dame long snapper Scott Daly called Diaco “an incredible coach and an even better man.” Future All-American linebacker Jaylon Smith reacted with a “No!” when he heard the news.

Despite all the accolades, Diaco turned out to be a terrible hire for UConn, and no amount of lipstick can make that pig look good.

The point being that hiring assistant coaches—more than head coaches, certainly—is an inexact science. There is a Peter Principle involved—some guys rise to their respective levels of competence. For some guys, like Diaco, and maybe Steve Addazio, the best jobs they’ve ever done might have come as assistant coaches and that might be the best job they are capable of doing.

For some, like Matt Rhule, the best jobs they have done were as head coaches.

Maybe Collins is more like Rhule than Diaco but the point is, no one really knows. Everything about hiring an assistant coach with no track record as a head coach at the level Temple currently plays is a crapshoot.

It’s no coincidence that the best head coaching hire in Temple football history, Wayne Hardin, was a great head coach at a Top 10 team before he ever came to Temple. That market is now too rich for the Owls and they are forced to take chances because they do not have the millions to hire away Top 10 head FBS coaches anymore.

On Wednesday, at an 11 a.m. press conference, Temple rolls the dice on another assistant coach, like it rolled the dice on a Clemson DC named Ron Dickerson in 1992 and another Florida coordinator named Steve Addazio in 2010 and Matt Rhule in 2012. The testimonials will come pouring in shortly after that.

The Owls will blow hard on that pair of dice as they introduce Collins. They can only hope to be as lucky as they were on the last roll.

Tomorrow Night: Reaction From Presser


30 thoughts on “Learning From History

  1. Was their a guy with head coaching experience out their that was a slam dunk? X’s and O’s he seams similar to Snow, but I think he will blow Snow away on the recruiting end.

    The question is who will be the OC? Will he keep Thomas?

    • Thomas is a Texas native, so he’s as good as gone. Not sure how plugged in Collins is to top-level assistants. That’s one thing Daz did well, bringing Florida DC Heater and QB coach Loeffler to run the Owls. I don’t expect a similar raid on McElwain’s staff. I do think Matt will talk him into keeping Foley, which would be a good start. Then Foley will have to recruit other staffers who don’t want to move to the Waco compound.

  2. As with all hires only time will tell. I think the Owls have done a lot of homework and sourced a candidate who appears very qualified as we sit here without him ever having coached a game. I expect he’ll have some hiccups, hopefully not as severe as MR during his first couple of seasons, the question will be whether and how quickly he learns to be a head coach.

    I hope he’s able to effectively recruit top-tier talent which should create some forgiveness for minor coaching gaffes. I also hope he’s able to surround himself with quality coordinators who have the autonomy to do their jobs. GC has been handed a winning team and culture both on and off the field. It’s my sincerest hope he has the character to continue to build on our tradition of focusing on developing the players as students and good human beings (likely not a skill he would have learned in the SEC).

  3. Went to bed thinking we were getting KC Keeler, woke up with a Geoff Collins. I will gladly take the latter.

  4. Mike if I recall you too were very high on one Bob Diaco.

    • You recall wrong. I was NEVER high on hiring any assistant coach ever. I always have been, are and will continue to be for hiring head coaches over assistant coaches as long as the head guys have won at the FBS level.

  5. While it remains to be seen what kind of game day coach he will be, it is more important what kind of Staff he puts together and how well they can recruit. A coach’s mistakes are highlighted when they don’t have the talent to overcome them.

    Rhule has no ties to TX. So he hires the president of TX high school football coaches association. Genius! Cant wait to see what this staff looks like.

  6. I wouldn’t call Diaco a terrible hire for UConn as much as I would say that taking the UConn job was a terrible decision for Bob Diaco…..

    • It’s only a terrible decision if you think no one can win at Uconn. I think you can win at UConn with the right person. Matt Rhule would have won at UConn. That fact accepted, Diaco is and remains a terrible hire for Uconn.

  7. Positive step forward at least. We have a coach. Golden left, Daz left, Rhule left and the program stayed strong. Have to hope the trend continues.

    Time to focus on recruits. Definitely some shoes to fill.

  8. There is a vanishingly small, highly-debatable list of “sure things” when it comes to coaching. They are available to Alabama, Ohio State, and maybe a few others by a combination of money, legacy, and program scale. Everyone else–and that includes LSU, Notre Dame, USC, Texas, etc., etc.,–“rolls the dice.” That is reflected in the high turnover.

    For what little it’s worth, I’m much happier to roll the dice with a (relative) unknown who is hungry to make a name than a coach for whom Temple would be a fallback rut. That includes a *2016* Al Golden, who seemed to be your preferred pick.

    I enjoy your site and respect you for keeping up the fight during the bad times, but I’m pretty happy with this hire.

    • That first paragraph reflects the sad state of college football today and, unfortunately, why probably every Temple football HC hiring from now on will be a crapshoot.

      • I think his point is, every hire is a crapshoot. Sure, there are higher percentage bets, but Charlie Strong was supposed to knock it out of the park once he had the talent level that Texas provided. Will Muschamp was a surefire pick at UF. Kevin Sumlin is on a red hot seat in College Station already.

        On the flip, 3 years ago who would have bet that Matt Rhule would be in a position to turn down Oregon? Who thought Craig Bohl would do anything at Wyoming?

        It’s all a crapshoot.

      • As the despicable and incompetent warrior (but brilliant philosopher) Donald Rumsfeld once said, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have.”

      • Ray Gassert said it better than I could.

      • I like to load my craps and mark my cards. Temple would have done that with a proven FBS head coaching winner.

      • Mike, that is depressing. Cold and true, but depressing nonetheless. We have every right to be bitter that a program nearly cancelled a decade ago finished twice in the Top 25 in back to back season (with all the other accolades as well).

        Arms race whether we like it or not. The rest is proving grounds.

  9. Sorry D Mark but that Rumsfeld quote was anything but philosophical. It was an excuse for not being prepared and endangering our troops.
    Right now I hope the coaches for our bowl game are getting things prepared and the kids are fired up. Temple, the players and fans need this win. Then next year let the new coach see what he can do and hopefully be successful, sooner than later. First things first.

  10. As I recall, Matt Rhule was a mediocre coach his first and second year. Collins success depends on the one thing most football programs lack that Temple has: patience and perseverance. Toughness is 50% patience and 50% perseverance and the rest is grit, blood, sweat, and tears.

    PS. Quoting Donald Rumsfeld is like stuffing cow dung in your audience’s ears.

  11. I agree that a proven winning FBS coach is preferable, but who was that guy? Lane Kiffin walked into a better situation at FIU. They have been 3-9 forever. His name alone will get hime recruits and he will have that team to 9-3 in a couple of years and a better job.

    Temple plays in a tough conference and is coming off back to back 10 win seasons. Next year will be a step back. It will take the new coach a couple of years to build it back up. Plus it is a much tougher league than C-USA.

    I am not sure what coach was available.

  12. Houston went in house because no one would agree to the buyout amount.

    FAU took Kiffin knowing he’s gone as soon as he is able. That was worth it to them. (I wonder how pissed LSU is now; Orgeron got that job in large part because of his perceived ability to deliver Kiffin as OC)

    If you were Charlie Strong’s friend, you’d probably tell him to take the USF job over Temple.

    Collins isn’t a letdown in my mind. You’re either getting a P5 coordinator, a damaged P5 HC, a retread or a reach when you’re a G5 school.

    Absence of Al Golden has made the heart grow fonder; he wasn’t exactly Vince Lombardi here. He’s a rock of integrity, he’s a great program builder, great to lead you through the darkness. But is he really the right coach to take a pre-built program to the next level? He’s a known, but to achieve the next level, you have to take a shot sometimes. The known is comfortable and easy but not necessarily the best option.

    • Rhule said something in the course of his McQueary defamation trial testimony that made an impression on me:

      “Rhule noted he was filling his staff primarily with people for whom Temple was a step up; where the call to join the Owls’ program in Philadelphia ‘was the greatest moment of their lives.'”

      Besides the enthusiasm that new blood brings, I’m honestly at a loss to identify a bona fide top 10-caliber FBS coach (Golden is none of those) who was available. The closest I could come up with is Les Miles.

  13. Are you sure they weren’t trying to hire a head coach? Seems like there was interest in Bobby Wilder but it looks like he signed a contract extension with ODU. Is that because Temple turned him down or the other way around?

  14. Putting aside Rumsfeldian wisdom (I did note he was despicable and incompetent), my point was I’m simply not going to pine for the unobtainable.

  15. all things considered Collins is an eight, right now.., won/loss will determine if the eight goes up to nine or ten, or down to seven or five.., Pat Kraft got the guy he wanted and the guy who believes in the Temple Brand of Football.., pleasantly surprised.., MR left talent on the table

    • I’ll leave this as a ‘7’ for now.

      – Knowing he sent a lot of D-linemen to the NFL (just last season) is refreshing, especially considering he has two 4-star players on the next season’s Owls Roster!

      • With Fletcher Cox being his biggest star former player, perhaps the Eagles will stop hating Temple players. Tavon Young would sure look good in midnight green right now……

  16. Guy sorta looks like and sounds like James Gandolfini but with a southern accent.

  17. I don’t know John. I lived in the south for a long time and Collins accent isn’t very southern. He’ll sound ok in living rooms up here.

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