Mulligans are usually associated with the game of golf, but Temple athletic director Pat Kraft now has a chance to have that kind of do-over in football coaching searches.
He missed this most recent two-foot putt by a mile but this is a chance to correct his mistake.
The $6.5 million question now is whether he admits his hiring model was a flawed one or does he take this as an opportunity to create a new model?
Manny Diaz lasted all of 17 days as Temple football’s head coach and, frankly, I’m glad he’s gone. He was never a fit for Temple. The guy never coached North of Jacksonville, had no recruiting ties to the area and probably doesn’t even own an overcoat. Temple was going to train him to be Mark Richt’s successor for one year and he would move on to his “dream” job, Miami. He would make all the mistakes first-year head coaches make–all the ones that Matt Rhule made in a 2-10 season and Collins did in a 7-6 one–and the Temple fans and players would be the ones paying for it.
Now Kraft will have to juggle several balls in the air with the $6.5 million buyout money ($2.5 million for Geoff Collins and $4 million for Diaz) and hope he can catch them all:
- No more carpetbaggers. Kraft, in his message to the players last night, finally used the word “stability.” That word has never appeared in his vocabulary before and it is a concession to the fact that this revolving door is getting comical if it wasn’t so sad. Is there someone out there who has not lost to Duke and Wake Forest by a combined score of 101-53 who feels that TEMPLE is his dream job? Surely that man exists.
- Keep contractual obligations. Another ball that is difficult to catch. Temple has the names of Fran Brown and Gabe Infante (and probably Ed Foley) signed on the dotted line and the university has a moral duty to keep them onboard and find a next guy who can work with both. Moral duty may mean nothing to Diaz, but it should mean something to Temple.
- Forget coordinators. Both Foley, who lost to Wake and Duke by the above-mentioned 101-53, and Fran Brown are good men who may consider Temple their “dream job” but neither has won a single game as an FBS head coach and probably are not ready for prime time. Nonetheless, we don’t want to learn the hard way.
It is time for Temple to finally bring in an established head coach and not another coordinator to have to learn on the job, someone who will bring some stability to the program and has loyalty to Temple.
That would probably rule out a terrific head coach like FIU’s Butch Davis, who will probably spend his entire year here looking out the window. Buffalo’s Lance Leipold parlayed a 108-6 record at Wisconsin-Whitewater and six national championships (real ones, not fake ones like they have in FBS) into a 10-4 record with the Bulls and is ridiculously underpaid at $325K. Can he be talked into keeping Foley, Brown and Infante, guys who he never met? Waving a couple of million at a guy like that can be convincing. Nothing would scare the shit out of Geoff Collins more than facing the guy who kicked his ass last September at Lincoln Financial Field this September at LFF. He’s a perfect geographical fit for Temple in that Buffalo is a major Northeastern city like Philadelphia. He probably owns several overcoats.
Al Golden is a guy who knows Temple and loves Temple and HAS PROVEN HE CAN WIN AS A HEAD COACH AT TEMPLE and would get along with Foley, Brown, and Infante and deserves a hard pursuit by Kraft. He gave Temple five terrific years, is still young and probably knows more than anyone else that the grass is not greener on the other side of the 10th and Diamond fence.
Todd Bowles would be a good co-defensive coordinator for Fran Brown to learn from but I’m told his lack of a Temple (or any other) college degree ruled him out of the coaching search in 2010.
The worst thing, though, would be for Kraft to go back and churn the coordinator pile of guys like Mike Elko and Don Brown and come up with a guy whose dream job is elsewhere.
Other people’s dreams are Temple’s nightmares.
New Year’s Day: The Cleanup Begins
Friday: The Pace