The late great Vince Hoch explained to me the secret to recruiting once.
“Mike, it’s all about building relationships and chemistry,” Vince said.
Hoch probably is one of the two or three best defensive coordinators I’ve known in my 40 or so years covering Temple who built a relationship with a player named Mike Palys. Bruce Arians, who replaced Wayne Hardin, followed up on the relationship and successfully recruited Palys to Temple.
Temple wanted Palys. Penn State wanted Palys.
“We never got a guy Penn State wanted until then,” then head coach Wayne Hardin said. “That was a great job by Bruce, but we established that relationship with him from the time he was a sophomore.”
Some incoming staffs want to establish their own recruits but, at Temple, Arians trusted Hardin, Matt Rhule trusted Al Golden (and to a lesser extent, Steve Addazio) and Collins had a great relationship with Rhule.
It all helped for relatively seamless recruiting.
Palys was an offensive player from a place called Moscow (Pennsylvania, not Russia or Idaho) but back in the early 1980s he built a solid relationship with everyone on the Temple football staff, even the defensive coaches.
When crunch time came, Palys picked Temple because of those relationships first and the fact that he believed Arians when he told the young man Temple would allow Palys to play both baseball and football at Temple.
Palys excelled in both sports, becoming an All-American in baseball (and starting in centerfield for Team USA) and scoring two touchdowns in Bruce Arians’ final game, a 42-28 win over Boston College.
Relationships are something the current head coach, Geoff Collins, and his staff apparently understand. Whatever this staff lacked in game-day preparation in the first half of the 2017 season, they seem to make up in connecting with the kids. It’s understandable because Collins learned the tricks of the trade as recruiting coordinator at both Georgia Tech and Alabama and he has assembled a young and charismatic staff.
The Owls are close to getting a very good linebacker in Pleasantville (N.J.) High’s Mohamed Toure, who seems to be favoring them over Rutgers, according to this story on NJ.com. He was supposed to be at Rutgers, skipped an appearance there to show up at Temple instead.
Hoch talked about relationships and those relationships lead to a lot of Jimmies and Joes (and Mohameds) signing on the dotted line.
If Jimmies and Joes and Mohameds can overcome the X’s and O’s, Temple is indeed in very good shape for the next few years.
Monday: An Early Look at Buffalo