The Cleanup Begins

Pat O’Connor (left) to Pat Kraft on Monday morning

My only living relative who cares so little about football she watched Star Trek reruns during the last Super Bowl,  listened to my Manny Diaz U-Turn story and said:

“What a fine mess that guy who hired him got Temple into. …”


“That pretty much sums it up,” I said. “It’s a nuclear-type cleanup now.”

Diaz was the Chernobyl of college football coaching hires.  If my relative thinks it’s a mess, I’m pretty sure Temple Board Chairman Pat O’Connor and President Dick Englert and a lot of the other trustees think it’s a mess, too.

That’s not to mention our players and fans. In addition, anybody who recruits against Temple now has fruit so low-hanging to pick from it has fallen on the ground.

Now the cleanup begins.

You are going to see a lot of Pat Kraft defenders on the internet who say: “He could not have seen this coming” and “he can’t be blamed for this” but if I saw it coming the guy who gets paid the big bucks to do the hiring should have, too. This is what we wrote in a caption the day after Diaz was hired:


This was written 20 days ago

The point is that this hire was Temple’s way of telling Miami “we’re going to train your next coach and, don’t worry, he will make all of the mistakes on our watch at our expense and, by the time we hand him off give him to you, he’ll be a polished guy.”

Diaz was the Chernobyl
of college football
coaching hires

Everything about this guy, from an entire career in warm-weather climates to the fact that his dad was the freaking Mayor of Miami screamed he was going back to Miami. One year, two years, seventeen days, what’s the difference? That should have all been factored into the Temple hire. If Temple is going to get a rental, get a ready-made one–a guy who can give this current very talented team a path to next year’s AAC title.

This is no time for a trainee.


This is the answer Geoff Collins gave in his Temple presser two years ago when asked if he was here to stay: “Every kid in there is going to know that I’m going to love them and there’s too much to do now in every moment to think about anything than what happens in the current moment.”

This is the answer Diaz gave at his presser: “All you can do is give them everything you have at the moment. You’ve got to work to improve every day, then go on to the next one.”

Anything sound familiar in those two comments?

Nothing about staying at Temple and building a winning legacy.  Those days might be over, but to achieve a championship now, the days of training rentals for other programs should be over. They should have been over three weeks ago.

Temple should go out and get a polished head coach who can give these fantastic returning players a championship in 2019. There’s a guy named Brown who can do it and it’s not Fran. It’s Neal. All he has done for Troy is do something Temple has never done–win 10 games three-straight years and beaten teams like LSU and Nebraska. Troy is paying him 1/3d of what Temple could and he would be worth every penny.

A 2019 AAC championship and an NY6 bowl would clean up a pretty big mess.

Thursday: Fizzy’s Corner

Saturday: The Slower Pace



76 thoughts on “The Cleanup Begins

  1. Neal (Troy) Brown has been winning for three years now, yet stays at Troy. Is there something he doesn’t do in so far as checking boxes?

    Does he have any east coast recruiting roots? I’m sure he’s smart enough to keep east coast people on his staff, especially the ones in place. Coming out of the Sun Belt, he knows how to evaluate talent and adjust game plans to what he has available to him each season.

    The Buffalo coach I’d wait for a year and see how they do with his QB moving on. But his age number is right that he’d be less likely to bolt if he recreates success on North Broad.

    • John Chaney used to talk about the known and the unknown. The unknown is Foley and Fran Brown. The known is Neal Brown and Lance Leipold. I will take the known over the unknown any day of the week. I wish there was a Temple grad as accomplished as those two or otherwise I’d support him, but there’s not.

  2. I hope someone is paying attention to what Is said here. It is time for a new direction.

    • thanks Phil…u always know I tell it like it is ..happy New year

      • I know Temple doesn’t have the big $$$ backers like Houston but they fire a coach who went 15-10 in 2 years, like Collins and turn around and apparently hire a coach from a P5 school. Yet here we’re trying to decide on Foley, who does seem to be a good part of a staff or taking a flyer on Fran Brown, who is another not ready for prime time HC in training

      • Not impressed with either Collins or Applewhite or Foley or Fran…give me the troy guy or the buffalo guy

      • If I’m Kraft, I’m waiting this time. If West Virginia (the only P5 left) goes for Neal Brown, I’m getting Leipold for Temple. If WVA goes for Leipold, I’m getting Neal Brown.

  3. To me Collins was a marginally “better” Addazio coaching wise so I don’t know why people think Kraft has this great model to keep following. Fran Brown may turn out to be a good HC someday but I don’t want to go through another round of “new coach needs time” etc

  4. I’m down with Neal Brown, but he’ll leave after two or three days. I also like some of your previous six-picks.

    From you prior coaching menu, Greg Schiano provides excellence and stability. He has a good coaching pedigree, decent W/L record, and local roots. He’s Italian and may have access to a mouth-watering cheese steak gravy. I see a future with championships and a restaurateur. Remember the Gino’s Giants? Hard to imagine Smokin Gill’s Ribs or Leopold’s Haufbrau. But I digress…

    • Schiano split Penn State years before Sandusky hit the fan.

    • Two or three days? Now that we have had a guy leave after 17 days, we can’t expect a guy to stay FOUR days?

      • Mike at least the kind of coaches that Kraft should be interested in are being discussed here rather than just focusing on people who I think would only add to Diaz mess. I mean the best Temple can do are fired NFL coaches (Bowles), assistant coaches who aren’t HC material (Foley) and coaches not ready for prime time and will most likely move on when they are learning on Temple’s dime (Fran Brown).

  5. Do you believe in Santa Claus? Yes, then you probably still believe an AAC coach will stay after back to back 10 win seasons.

    The reality is all AAC successful coaches will leave at some point in time, sooner than later. Why? Because that is the nature of their profession and it will not change in our lifetime, Capitalism 101.

    Did Kraft rush to failure in an attempt to save the 2019 recruiting class? On hindsight, probably yes.

    Now what? A keen CEO would step back and review and validate the strategic vision for TUFB.

    CC said time and time again TUFB was a Developmental Program, and Pat Kraft never stepped in to stop him from saying it.

    So let’s hire Fran Brown and move on.

    • and that’s probably the quickest way back to the Ron Dickerson, Jerry Berndt and Bobby Wallace days.

      • Hold off on hiring Neal Brown. If Temple hires him tomorrow and he goes to West Virginia Thursday, that’s not a good look. I think WVA slides Brown into Morgantown tomorrow, though. Since Houston threw the big bucks ($20 mill for 5 years) to get a P5 coach, Temple should retaliate in kind and throw the $6.5 million buyout money (plus the $2 million Collins was making the next three) and offer Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson a $4.1 million per year deal for the next three or spread it over five. Guy kicked Duke’s butt 59-7 and beat Memphis in a bowl. He can coach.

      • Didn’t Dickerson come to Temple with a reputation as a good recruiter as well? I’ll give Brown that he seems to be a good recruiter and pretty good DB coach, at least based on his time at Temple but can he run the full show as you put it be the CEO. If he could he would have been given the job 17 days ago. Obviously considered not ready and I don’t see how that has changed. Maybe TU gets lucky one more time or maybe this becomes a total fail. Either way don’t think this program needs to take this kind of risk right now

      • Yes, Dickerson was supposed to get us all of the recruits. He got us some good ones but he couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag. Don’t want to find that out with Fran Brown after a loss to Bucknell with Temple talent.

      • Dickerson was one of the worst hires in TU history. 8-47. When he was at Clemson, he destroyed what was one of the best defenses in college football. At TU he was over matched and out coached week after week.

      • Why is Dave Clawson, who is already at a P5 School going to drop a lower level when he’s already highly regarded for a better P5 job or the NFL?

        We have a blueprint, stick with it.

    • I like it a lot better than Fran Brown, Ed Foley, Todd Orlando, Tony Orlando, Matt Canada or Joe Mexico. Did a pretty good job at FAU and Temple would be a step up.

      • You guys want a coach to stick around and therefore want Lane Kiffin? Not to mention his success at FAU is entirely owed to Kendall Briles.

    • Clawson would leave wake for the same reason holgerson left wva: $$$$$$….temple now has it

      • Dana left because he knew he was going to get fired next year when the Eers have a massive downturn. It’s the same reason Jimbo left FSU. Wake is going to be better next year and Clawson knows he can parlay it into a big P5 job next year. And, no, we don’t have Houston Money, nor the ACC Checks with the new network that Wake has.

  6. Kiffin: Step up for him, but still a stepping stone. Florida recruiting base, no east coast exposure. His specialty is spread offenses. Several times a year Saban walked over to him during games and shouted “run the damn ball” in his ear.

    Schiano: Checks the boxes, but would he get the demonstrators in action again like his hiring at Tennessee did? We all know there is a group longing to organize protests about TUFB, whatever the supposed reason. The more I think about it, the better the choice he is.

  7. If you had put this list together 25 years ago, based on your criteria Bobby Wallace may have made your list. Terrible signing.

  8. Wallace was successful because he stocked his team with D-1 malcontents like K.C.Keller did at Rowan. Keller had mixed success at Delaware. but is doing well at Sam Houston State. If they do not hire a successful head coach from the D-1 level, the Owls will continue to lose games they should win and uncertainty will continue to follow. I have no clue who they should hire but it isn’t Fran Brown. He wasn’t hired when Diaz was because of a lack of experience and that hasn’t changed one whit. Fact is that he will bolt like the rest once he has some success. frankly, I’d look at the UMass coach because he does more with less just like Wayne Hardin did.

    Here’s an interesting take on bowl games that I agree with

    “Did you know that the NCAA used to be against post-season bowl games? It’s true; back in 1937, they issued a report which concluded the bowl games had no place in college football, because they, quote, serve no sound educational ends, and such promotions merely trade upon intercollegiate football for commercial purpose, unquote. I read that and I thought, how quaint. The NCAA actually believed it could keep its athletic programs uncorrupted by professional sports interests. That’s like trying to keep lobbying money out of politics. Also, we used to make fun of the names of the bowl games. We’d ask, what time does the Toilet Bowl come on? Or the Cereal Bowl. Or the Salad Bowl. Whoops, there actually used to be a Salad Bowl, played in Montgomery Stadium in Phoenix, between 1948-1955. Also, Auburn and Villanova traveled to Havana, Cuba to play in the Bacardi Bowl back in 1937. Of course, this was before Castro turned the island into a commie sh*thole. Back in the day, there were, like, 4 bowl games, the Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Orange Bowl, all shown on New Year’s Day, and everybody watched them. Now there’s about 40 of them. And nobody cares.

    • I can remember getting all of my bowl watching done in a few days before New Year’s Day with ones like the Sun, Gator, Astro-Bluebonnet bowl and maybe a handful more before settling down to the big ones on January 1st. It is kind of ridiculous these days with bowl games from early December to past New Year’s Day with the so-called “National Championship”

      As far as the TU coaching soap opera, totally agree with regards to Fran Brown, unbelievable how folk on FB are going ga-ga about him. I’m tired of these coaches learning their craft on Temple’s dime and with from my perspective lackluster recruiting classes, at least 2017 so far, from Collins and whatever the hit may be to the 2019 class with the latest fiasco, Temple is going to need a HC who can do exactly that, coach, run a program, etc. Fran Brown and Gabe Infante, if they both stick around give a good recruiting foundation.

      • I said during Rhule’s second season that D-1 is not the place to learn how to coach D-1, a point our AD just doesn’t grasp. If the coach hired does eventually wins, it always follows numerous bad losses. If he doesn’t we’re stuck with the guy for the length of the contract because TU cannot buy him out. The losing this process entails as the guy learns to coach, however, can be fatal to a program like TU’s. Fan support is tenuous even during good times and losses like the losses to Nova, Buffalo, and Army early in the season means 5000 less fans for the rest of the season and almost no students. If you’re an established program like PSU, it doesn’t matter for a year or two. TU however is a different story. It’s time to get a D-1 coach in here who has shown that he can coach.

      • Bingo…that’s as clear to me and you as see-through cellophane but I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach 2 days before Diaz was hired that he was going to hire Diaz (and I wrote it at the time) and now I have the same sinking feeling that he’s going to hire Todd Orlando. I rather he hire Tony Orlando.

      • When are you guys going to get it that an “established” Head Coach isn’t coming to Temple? There is no incentive to come here. Fan support is marginal, the stadium is half empty, there is minimal tradition and history. The only success this program has had has come the last 10 years and it’s been by getting a young dynamic assistant.

      • That s the same model that got uconn diaco, Maryland durkin and Rutgers ash…TEMPLE has been lucky so far…it’s only a matter of time a guy like Orlando turns into an ash or a diaco. Give me Neal Brown for a year and watch him hoist a aac title trophy.. The best 6.5 mil temple will ever spend

      • It also got Rutgers Greg Schiano and Maryland Ralph Friedgen. UCONN tried the established HC with Edsall and Pasqualoni and they failed. I’d like Neal Brown too, but we’re not getting Neal Brown when he’s been holding out for a P5 job/Kentucky and WVU is calling.

      • Oh, and it could be argued before the scandal broke, Durkin had Maryland on the right track for the first time since The Fridge.

    • The UMASS Coach, is Walt Bell, a first year HC replacing Mark Whipple, who did nothing his second go around in Ahmherst.

      • Looks like fickell to wvu so that would leave Neal free to slide into temple. He doesn’t have to hold out for anyone. TEMPLE has a really good team coming back. Not the time to mess it up with a guy learning on the job . the $4 mil tu can pay is more than the 810k he’s making now

      • IF you can get Neal Brown, then yes, that’s a great hire. I will remain skeptical until it’s printed on the dotted line.

  9. and dawn before todd. I agree. butch davis. actually more impressive resume than schiano imho. and I liked the buffalo guy better than neal brown, let WVU have him

  10. Would Dawn com with Tony Orlando to be OC…LOL 🙂

  11. Tell Dawn “you’re no good for me” and take Tony with you.

  12. Kraft’s problem, as many here have said, is that he goes for the most effusive coach in the room or the sexy and cool pick every time, I would like to know if he and the committee ever talk coaching philosophy and strategy like what offense and defense the interviewee intends to run. Iassume they must but have my doubts given Collins’ hiring. Had he and the committee done that with Collins I’d like to know what Collins said about his offense. As soon as he said he was dropping the power running game in favor of a RPO offense the meeting should have ended and Collins should have been ushered out of the room. Collins should have been asked who he had in mind for his OC and if he said Patenfraud, the interview should have been over. That;s why a guy like Frank Solich would never be hired here, He’s not a sexy or cool pick even though all he does is win. At Nebraska he was 58-19 and they fired him. (At Ohio he’s 164-94 over 14 seasons and has only 1 losing season-TU would take that in a heartbeat). Kraft’s selections have yet to approach that level of success over such an extended period of time either because they’re incompetent or because the guy leaves. In Kraft’s eyes Solich is boring and not a sexy pick. Frankly, guys on the blog could do a better job hiring a coach than these guys. First, the buyout would be for 10 million so that the coach would have to be the progeny of Lombardi and Paterno for another school or pro team to hire him away. Second he would have to run a Temple Tuff offense. Third, the guy would have to have been a successful D-1 or FCS coach for five years. Absent any of these criterion the guy should not be hired.

    As an aside, Houston made an expensive mistake. That guy has hardly ever won the big game and if a team can stop his QB, he can’t win. His teams are undisciplined and like him lose their composure when things go bad. Besides, he’s inheriting one of the worst defenses in college football. Can’t see another 5 star d-tackle signing there.

    • This site is outstanding because of posts like Mr. Belli’s above. Mike tried to warn Kraft about guys like Diaz three days before he hired him but Kraft plowed ahead instead and hired the guy despite Mike’s impeccable logic. One of these days Temple is going to make the same mistake Rutgers, Maryland and UConn did with recent hires–go for the hot coordinator. Like Mike and John said, this Diaz fiasco gives Kraft a chance at a reset and hire an accomplished head coach. This is the best Temple site because pretty much everyone in the comments understands which way Kraft needs to go.

      • *go for the hot coordinator and backfire … Temple has been lucky with coordinator hires but it’s really foolish to believe that Temple will always be lucky with coordinator hires.

      • Yea, cause UCONN really nailed the Randy Edsall hire.

  13. Our true freshman class will have seen four head coaches before their first spring ball (if you count foley). It’s ridiculous and could cost us big if we don’t fix the problem. With 6.5 coming their way they should nut up and pay someone in the lower p5 thats doing well like holgerson. If that can be the standard then we should shoot for it.

    • Young guy with some juice who is a proven head coach. Neal Brown fits that description better than his brother by another mother Fran.

      • I’m now thinking that Don Brown is probably the best fit even though Neal is a better coach. Don is 63 and Temple will be his last rodeo. Much better DC than Diaz ever was and will be able to mentor Fran Brown as DC. If FB does well as DC, he slides into the HC in 3-4 years. What Temple CANNOT afford to do is give the HC job to FB right now. Another carpetbagging coordinator in the Diaz ilk of Orlando would cause a revolt among the Temple fan base. Don Brown or Neal Brown. I think the delay is waiting for WVU to make the decision. Don’t want to have the WVU job open if the Temple job is open.

  14. and I echo the fact that John’s last two posts hit the nail right on the head. No more coordinators, please.

  15. Just read that WVU is looking at Brown, Fickel from CINNCY and ex-Tennessee coach Butch Jones. Hiring fickel would hurt Cinncy

    • with the incoming Houston HC, don’t look now but the AAC has a bunch of really good HCs. Will Temple compete?

      Losing Diaz was a super bad blow, word his departure came as a complete surprise to Richt. Miami will challenge Clemson w/i two years if not sooner.

      Some of you guys are confusing experience with experiences. Look at all the experiences Fickel had at OSU while being a coordinator, not many can match how much he learned from those big time, big game experiences. He can handle the bright lights.

      How many HCs can match the experiences Tom Orlando has had with Herman? He can handle the bright lights.

      How many HCs being considered have experienced College GameDay in Philadelphia?

      HC is just like any other job in the sense either you are prepared or you are not. And, what matters most is not your age but the experiences on your resume.

      Most successful HCs have been coordinators before being given a chance. That is the career pattern for football coaches. Temple can ill-afford to be arrogant, we don’t sit in those seats. Heck, we don’t even have a stadium to call our own

      • Respectfully disagree that Miami will be a power again. Diaz is the new flashy car who really doesn’t run all that well when the going gets tough despite having four and some five star recruits. They were ranked 8th in 2018 and 12th in 2017. A review of their record in 2018 shows that they gave up a lot of points to teams just above and below .500. Had some good defensive games but too many clunkers. The turnover chain doesn’t make him a genius just like the money down didn’t help TU get off the field on third down. In 2017 they lost three straight and gave up 24, 38, and 34 to Pitt, Clemson, and Wisconsin to end the season. Miami’s success in the 80’s and 90’s was achieved by cheating. Those days are over and Miami will continue to be a middle to close to the top team.

      • Miami thinks 1986 is coming back. Those days are over.

  16. just reported that TU is taking its time hiring a coach and won’t begin interviewing until next week. Orlando is prominently mentioned in the article.

  17. Everything I’m reading right doesn’t give me a “warm and fuzzy” regarding Kraft and the “national search”. Feel Kraft is going for what he views as the splashy, high profile coordinator. So far his process has yielded what I consider a mediocre to average HC in Collins and the Diaz mess. For all the Fran Brown talk I have to think if he was still under consideration he would have been named HC already. Just don’t have a good feeling about this process right now.

  18. I wonder if Temple got a refund on the DIAZ search or a freebee on the new national HC Coach search

    • Triple option would never work at Temple which prides itself on producing NFL talent. Love Jeff Monken but he doesn’t know how to coach an NFL offense. He’s a much-better fit at Georgia Tech than Collins is, though.

  19. Kraft has one foot out the door and he’s essentially networking with the hiring of P5 assistant coaches who will move on to P5 HC positions that put them in the position for payback somewhere down the line. Does that seem so far fetched? Career networking is an art.

  20. is monken married to the triple option. Did he use it at Georgia southern. he is one tuff SOB, and has Army playing at an extremely high level. Fits the temple tuff criteria and then some

  21. Neal Brown is taking the WVU job.

  22. what a cluster. ill bet we could have had neal brown at the first go kraft late to the dance as usual

    • After Diaz, Kraft is shellshocked. Last thing he wanted to do was offer him yesterday, get him signed and then see him quit and go to WVA today. Trust no one after Diaz.

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