A Book That Needs To Be Written


Bruce takes items from his office home the day he was fired at Temple

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.”

Include them?

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


10 thoughts on “A Book That Needs To Be Written

  1. Congrats to Paul Palmer.
    Newest member of NCAA Hall of Fame.
    Class of 2018.

  2. Typical Temple decision making. Granted there’s a bit of a time warp, but they fire Arians back then instead of supporting the program fiscally and facility-wise. And now we see the basketball program on the brink of ruination and instead of putting Dunphy on a short leash, he gets a 5 year extension. (I’ve been a Dunphy supporter up until recently but what’s going on now is nothing short of embarrassing and a coaching change should be imminent). What the hell is going on at Temple’s administrative and BOT level?

    It’s about time for Paul Palmer. At least he’s in now, Congratulations.

  3. Fired Arians and then went out and hired Jerry Berndt! I remember being home on Christmas break and realizing I was going to have to go back for the Spring semester and report to that guy. I’m getting sick thinking about it now….30 years later.

    • Berndt, with his Ivy league background, was the wrong guy for that job. He had no clue about how to deal with TU players and then failed to parlay the little success he had with Arians’ players past his first season. The idiots in charge then doubled down with bad moves with Dickerson and Wallace. So many wasted years. Hope Collins doesn’t emulate that trio of losers. Frankly, I think he will with the decisions he made this past season especially the one that wasted the talent of the best fullback in the country who also was a hell of a defender who saw action only in one game on D and excelled. TU administration really knows how to pick em. I know Rhule was ultimately successful but he was a bad choice because of his lack of head coaching experience and it showed with 6 plus losses his first two years that should have been w’s.To his credit, he saw the error of his ways and completely revamped the offense to fit the talent he had, something Collins did not do despite having seen what worked for Rhule. I think next season we’re in for more of this stubborness. Hope not.

      • Two red flags for Berndt and Dickerson: Berndt was hired off an 0-11 year at Rice; Dickerson hired despite giving up 55 points in his last game as a DC. I said both at the time, but TFF wasn’t around then as I was writing for a suburban daily. One of the red flags for Collins was as John described earlier, his “Mayhem” defense giving up a 21-point lead in a game last year. Let’s hope he doesn’t end the same way those guys ended.

      • The decision to not have Sharga on the field is simply inexcusable. What do good coaches always say? Find a way to get your best players on the field!

  4. A minor wish would be that Sir Bruce of Arians becomes the Temple head coach one more time , just to get it right one more time.
    What a dream of hope that would be, he’d get **** recruits ‘ for-shore ‘ (that’s jersey talk) since I now live in Jersey

  5. Watching the Championship game I thought that TU does not have one player who would start on either team. That’s how good they are and how far behind TU is. The only player who might play a lot is Sharga and we saw what the current coach did with him.

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