The Gold Standard: Wayne Hardin


Steve Conjar talks to Wayne Hardin with my elbow and Mark Bresani’s back not being far away.

A few years ago, Eagles’ owner Jeffery Lurie stepped into some deep dog poop when he said his team was “the Gold Standard” of the NFL. “When I’m talking to other owners or other GMs in the league, we’re kind of the gold standard,” Lurie said on Aug. 8, 2003.


That was a year BEFORE an Eagles’ team he was owner of appeared in the Super Bowl.


Bill Belichick sent this note to coach Hardin with the game ball from Super Bowl 49.

Since the Eagles had not won the Super Bowl yet, that got some fans to thinking that there was some higher standard, like Platinum or Uranium.

The Eagles are claiming they are something they never were, or what the New England Patriots are right now.


That’s why it was fitting that the real gold standard of the NFL coaches, maybe forever (sorry, Vince Lombardi), took time out of his precious summer vacation on Friday to say a few nice words at The Union League about someone most of us knew and loved, Wayne Hardin. (Owls’ TV really needs to put that celebration of life on YouTube so that it can reach a much wider audience.)

As much as Bill Belichick is the Gold Standard of NFL head coaches, that what Temple was lucky enough to have in Wayne Hardin. Belichick studied Hardin closely as a kid, then more as an adult and took copious notes on how Hardin attacked opponents. When Belichick was an assistant coach with the New York Giants, he sat in the stands of the Garden State Bowl and marveled how Hardin attacked California in a 28-17 win.

Those who watch Belichick’s teams can see a lot of Hardin in Belichick and it is a beautiful living tribute to the greatest head coach in Temple history.

Hardin will forever be The Gold Standard as far as Temple head coaches are concerned. He was not only the most successful, but also the most loyal. Despite being the only coach to ever have Temple FINISH in the Top 20, he remained for 13 years.  Think about it: Two great schools, Navy and Temple, have only finished in the Top 20 under one head coach. Those were both schools that coaches have to overcome significant hardships to achieve. For Hardin at Navy, it was no scholarships and a five-year military commitment. For Hardin at Temple, it was moving from one level to another despite not having the facilities of the major Eastern powers he faced. There was also the issue of loyalty. How many future Temple coaches will turn down a higher paying job as a football coach in Texas to remain at Temple? Hardin did when Tom Landry offered him the offensive coordinator job with the Dallas Cowboys.

If Lurie wanted to see what a real Gold Standard was all about, living or passed, all he needed to do was venture out of his office and make his way a couple miles North up to the Union League on Friday.

Not surprisingly, Lurie–ironically from Boston–declined the educational experience. His loss, but he must be used to that four-letter word by now.

Wednesday: Beginner’s Luck


3 thoughts on “The Gold Standard: Wayne Hardin

  1. Great, great article…I was there through the Hardin years

  2. Eagles are American Standard.

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