Succession Plan: Never Too Early


FIU was one of many stops for the Minister of Mayhem

There has been a lot of talk on social media, if not the real one, about this supposed succession plan Temple has with basketball coach Fran Dunphy.

It comes down to these choices:

One, Dunphy returns to complete the remaining three years on his contract;

Two, Dunphy is told he has one more year and Aaron McKie will be named coach in waiting;

Three, Dunphy is told he has one more year to get to the NCAAs or he’s out.

Following Temple athletics as closely as I have for the last 40 years, I’ll opt for No. 1 and bet a good $20 on that happening. Temple has the same kind of aversion to eating contracts as Jon Stewart has to eating at Arby’s.

What does this have to do with football?

The Owls, at least in football, have to have a succession plan for reasons probably not to their liking. This may not be the topic to talk about during spring practice, but this is the kind of thing Dr. Pat Kraft should be at least thinking about and it’s never too early.


My five-point criteria is specific: 1) Proven winner; 2) Proven ability to win as a FBS head coach; 3) ability to recruit; 4) ability to CEO and hire a solid staff; 5) ability to win at Temple


Since Al Golden left in at the end of the 2010 season, Steve Addazio and Matt Rhule have left and, the way I read Geoff Collins, he would probably be gone after eight or nine wins this year. It has nothing to do with Collins himself, just that it’s a nomadic profession that lends to stops at places like Albright, Western Carolina, Georgia Tech, UCF, Mississippi State, FIU,  Florida and Temple. He’s probably used to moving and not adverse to it. Think about it: Is something so special about 10th and Diamond that would make Collins want to plant roots in the concrete and build something here like Joe Paterno did at Penn State?

I didn’t think so.

Kraft, who probably isn’t going anywhere, has to have a few names on the piece of paper in his pocket should he get that 3 a.m. call from Collins in December.

If he does, it probably means the Owls have done something special, like win another AAC championship and that would probably be an acceptable trade-off.

To me, the next head coach at Temple is a no-brainer. My five-point criteria is specific: 1) Proven winner; 2) ability to win as a FBS head coach; 3) ability to recruit; 4) ability to CEO and hire a solid staff; 5) ability to win at Temple.

Since someone is out there who has proven all of those qualities (Al Golden) and is probably not going to get a better offer than head coach at Temple over the next couple of years, it would be wise for Kraft to keep that name and phone number on a scrap of paper in his pocket.

Otherwise, work on a guy who has at least four of those qualities.

Churning the coordinator pile is like walking through a mine field. If you get through three or four mines, there is always that fifth one up ahead. That’s the one that could blow up this program.

With a $17 million practice facility and a (possible, not probable), $130 million stadium to gamble, you do not want to roll the dice on another unproven coordinator.

Friday: Spring Practice Position Flexibility

Sunday: Done Deal II


16 thoughts on “Succession Plan: Never Too Early

  1. Lets hire the greatest legacy player of all time in the football.

    Temple HOF member William Cosby .

  2. Agree on a head coach rather than a hot coordinator. And the criteria you lay out are reasonable.

    Criteria 1,2, and 3 are relatively easy to gauge. What would the indicators of success for 4 and 5 be?

    If there’s someone who meets 1-4, would not that person have already been hired elsewhere? If somehow that coach is still doing his thing (N. Dakota St. coach?), what would lure him to N. Broad instead of a lesser ACC, SEC, or BiG program (think the Western Michigan coach now at Minnesota)?

  3. I think the key for #5 (and I agree with the rest) is not if they can win at Temple, but how long will it take? Rhule was likely the last HC for a bit that will be given a few growing pain years before picking up the pace. We want someone who can win at Temple NOW. The talent on the roster beckons as much.

  4. Nice article Mike.
    Since you started with BB, I will too. TU probably will stick with Dunphy till his contract ends, but I think (and I mentioned this before) #3 is what should happen. It’s hard to understand why TU extended his contract for 5 years under the circumstacnes, but they did. I will say that PSU doing so well in the NIT after beating TU (actually TU beat themselves) takes some of the sting out of the lose. But what really hurts is that TU was good enough to win that game except for playing about the worst game of their season. BTW, will someone list the reasons why McKie is considered the odds on favorite to be the next coach? I have nothing against him but, as you point out not wanting to hire any more coordinators for FB, McKie has no HCing experience either. Why shouldn’t TU go after a proven HC for BB?

    FB? First off, an 8-9 win season might happen, but maybe not. A big IF! I sure don’t see an AAC championship for the ’18 season. Al Golden? Well, he may be available and he may be the one that comes in and, assuming he wins a lot to want him to stay, remains on board (maybe like Paterno?). But I still remember his not-so-good game day coaching, altho he does have all the other necessary attributes.

    • Thanks for the reasoned thought and abstaining from sarcasm. I will take the not-so-good game day coaching over the really bad game-day coaching I saw last year. The reality at Temple is that we’re never going to get a Hardin for a game-day coach again. So I will for less swag and more Temple TUFF.

      • Why did Collins take this job? he thought he could win enough games and move on…,

        MR took TUFB to two consecutive conference championship games. Will Collins do that? No, and certainly not with the current OC..,

        Second of all we don’t have a genius on the other side of the ball. Phil Snow had a system and recruited, molded, coached players up to win in that system. What do we have now? Chaos not mayhem.

        Tough times ahead for TUFB

  5. The reality for the football program is that unless they’re invited to join a P5 conference or the AAC becomes a power conference , that Temple football will continue to be a stepping stone for college coaches.

    The reasons being many. Until recently, Temple does not have a rich tradition of winning in college football. For the length of time they’ve played football, they have only won 3 bowl games.

    Additionally, there is no on campus stadium. The only other schools without an OCS are Pitt, Miami and USC . All of which are winning programs , each with a national title.

    Furthermore, Alumni generally do not support the football program, The attendance at home games is pathetic .

    Unless all the above changes , Temple will not attract an established Division 1 head football coach to join the program , They’ll have either promote from within the football program , recruit coaches from other conferences (Con USA, MAC etc) , recruit coaches from winning DIV 1A or Div 2 programs, recruit college coordinators or fired NFL coaches,

    • They once did attract an established Division I head coach to join the program. His name was Wayne Hardin. College football has changed since then for the worst, so I agree with your essential point. Got to get a “sure thing” next time and AG is as close to it as we can get.

    • The heart of the USC campus is 10 minutes walk to the Coliseum.

  6. Mike, you are asking for the impossible. TU very rarely gets it “right” on the first try and when they do, it’s blind luck. Look what they did with Bill Bradshaw and the president of the university, two persons who are as responsible for the resurgence of football as anyone. Bradshaw was the guy who was able to get the Owls P-5 opponents consistently and would have been ashamed to place Stony Brook, Delaware State, and Bucknell ( I still can’t believe that I’m writing their name-what are they playing for-the old leather helmet?) on the schedule. If Theobald was still there, the stadium would have been half-built by now where William Penn high school is located. Dunphy looked like a good hire until the Owls went to a league with better players and coaches. He’s very good with middling competition but clearly doesn’t have what it takes to win against elite opponents either with regard to strategy and recruiting, If TU were bold, they’d hire Rick Pitino and just ignore the heat like Louisville did when they hired Bobby Petrino to be their football coach. Like I said months ago, TU should just give up big-time college sports. Just too many enemies and too few supporters to make it consistently successful. It surely doesn’t help when they make poor hiring decisions. By the way, Hardin made plenty of mistakes. I remember a really bad call during the 78 PSU game that ended 10-9 when he called a double reverse pass that lost thirty yards and took them out of field goal range I was in the coaches’ box for the game and the three coaches there were screaming don’t run the play. Also, one year against West Virgina, he called for a quick punt on third down and the ball barely went 15 yards, WVU scored and kept on doing so for a slaughter. There are others. That being said, his teams consistently did more with less talent, which did set him apart. Finally, I still believe that he should have gone for the tie against PSU in ’76, which would have been considered a win by the national media.

    • I’d take Pitino in a heartbeat. We, not Louisville, probably should have given Petrino a second chance after he banged his smoking hot Arkansas secretary on a motorcyle. Temple is, in many ways a “holier than thou” school and it hurts us on the bottom line. Do I want Temple on probation? Hell no. Do I want us to take it right up to the probation line before backing off? Hell, yeah.

    • Hardin was the best hiring decision Temple ever made. When is Temple ever going to get a coach who finished No. 2 in the national college football rankings like Hardin did to Texas in 1962? I think those days are over, sadly.

      • Wayne Hardin was a great coach at Navy and Temple. But Hardin last coached Temple 36 years ago.
        I don’t like the way the NCAA restructured, giving the P5 conferences greater autonomy in college football.. But Temple, Boise St & UCF have to play the cards that were dealt to the them. It’s time to move forward .

        To plagiarize Fleetwood Mac,

        “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow
        Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here
        It’ll be, better than before,
        Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone”.

        Schools in the Group of 5 conferences will continue to be stepping stones for college coaches.

        My best analogy for young college coaches is like the young Temple business school graduate , whose dream is to run Amazon someday . He has an opportunity to start in Amazon’s mailroom and is successfully. That success leads him to become the mailroom manager. And is he’s good at that too. The Temple grad is recommended every few years for further management positions, with greater responsibilities, and becomes a rising star in Amazon based on all his successes. And then one day he realizes his dream.

        Until the structure of college football changes, Coaching Temple might be that middle management job before landing that P5 conference coaching position with a shot for greater exposure and a national title.

  7. Former Temple kicker Cap Poklemba said it best after the Army loss: “No fan base has it tougher rooting for a team than the fans of Temple do.” So many things going against it in the way of dumbass coaching that loses winnable games. Mix in an indifferent administration to the basketball situation and everything is compounded exponentially.

  8. We’ve all said it before. Temple is a stepping stone program. Period. I for one am relatively satisfied to continue with winning seasons and bowl games most years. Heck, it wasn’t long ago that none of us thought TU would do as well as they have been for this long. But success breeds a desire for more and even if TU never gets into a P5 conference, winning seasons and bowl games with occassional rankings more consistently, is the next step – and maybe as good as can be expected. That said, having coaches that don’t lose winnable games because of bad calls is also a next step. And Mike, since even really good MAC coaches would see TU as a stepping stone, Al Golden may just be the best thing for TUFB. You’re winning me over……

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