Anyone who knows Bruce Arians will tell you he will use approximately one week to rest and relax after his “retirement” and then get so restless he will have to move on to his next project.
I personally think he would be best-suited to be Jon Gruden’s replacement on ESPN (they could not pick a better person), but there is a compelling project that needs to be finished first.
Arians is a best-selling author, having published his first book “The Quarterback Whisperer” to great acclaim.
“After writing that book, I realized there were a lot of good stories I left out, particularly from my Temple days,” Arians said. “Maybe I’ll include them in the next one.”
He has to have enough great stories in that head just about Temple that would make an entire book a best-seller.
Five years as Temple’s head coach—two of them winning seasons against what the computer then rated the No. 10-toughest schedule in the country—should provide enough good stories for a 387-page book.
Plenty of topics could be covered.
In these days of leaving for Power 5 programs and big bucks at the drop of a hat, Arians can talk about the time he turned down the head coaching job at Virginia Tech, his alma mater, for more money so he could stay in Philadelphia. “I can’t leave my Temple guys,” Arians said. That job went to a guy named Frank Beamer.
Temple returned that favor by firing him three years later. That was a move current Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz brought up unsolicited during a St. Louis Post-Dispatch interview on colleges being quick to fire head coaches: “Look at Temple. Firing Bruce Arians set that program back 20 years.”
Arians could write about beating a one-loss Toledo team in the Boardwalk Bowl in Atlantic City, 35-6, 1984 and watching that same Toledo team go out to play in the California Bowl while his 6-5 Owls stayed home. We still don’t know what Bruce was thinking when Bill Cosby hid the ref’s flag under a piece of sod, causing a 22-minute delay of game.
He could spin a nice tale about beating another one-loss team, the aforementioned Virginia Tech, 29-13, in the 1986 Oyster Bowl and then watching those Hokies go on to play in that year’s Peach Bowl, while his own Owls remained home.
He could talk about being the only coach to offer a Division I scholarship to Paul Palmer and then coaching him up to be a Heisman Trophy runner-up and someone the numbers showed should have won the trophy.
He could talk about his hot and cold relationship with Peter J. Liacouras, which started off hot and ended cold when the then Temple President had the kind of obsession with the Owls returning to the Sugar Bowl which bordered on insanity.
Most of all, Arians could tell a lot of the personal stories that few of us know of how a 30-year-old got a major head coaching job and interacted with players who loved him for the rest of their lives.
It would be a compelling read and a book that needs to be written.
Wednesday: The Power of a Resume
Friday: February Surprises