Rod Carey Hire: More Steak Than Sizzle


Rod Carey celebrates the 2018 MAC title win over Buffalo one month ago.

One of my tailgate friends, a former Temple lineman named Ray “Big Cat” Haynes, had this selfie reaction shaking his head after watching his beloved Owls lose to Villanova a few months ago:

“What did I just see?”

Followed quickly by another selfie with this remark:

“I’ve seen the sizzle. I want the steak.”


Sizzle was all the accompanying window dressing Haynes saw during the game–like Money Down signs–steak was a win over a crosstown foe Temple needed so desperately to have that afternoon. The Owls were embarrassingly outcoached by Villanova and not a single Temple fan was happy that night.

With Temple hiring Rod Carey, the Owls get steak after a couple years of sizzle. He wasn’t my first choice (Chris Creighton of Eastern Michigan) or my second (Lance Leipold of Buffalo) but he definitely is a less-risky pick than any Power 5 coordinator out there. Even the guy who might have finished second, former Maryland head coach Matt Canada, got killed by Geoff Collins and Temple and that would have been a harder sell than Leipold, who actually did beat Collins and Temple.


There were a lot of balls in the air that made this a difficult hire for Dr. Pat Kraft, the Temple AD. The disastrous hire of Manny Diaz left Kraft with three contracts to honor, then interim head coach Ed Foley, current interim HC Fran Brown and one of LB coach Gabe Infante. It might have been he could only get his fellow Indiana alumnus, Carey, to bail him out and agree to take those three onto the staff. We may never know but we do know those spots are guaranteed.


Hmm. Carey does something the great Geoff Collins was unable to, beat Buffalo

What we do know is the Owls are getting a ready-made FBS winning head coach for the first time since hiring Wayne Hardin in 1970 and that worked out pretty well (80-50-2). We also know that Temple is now Indiana East with 2000 grad Kraft and HC Carey (Class of 2003). Temple Chief Financial Officer Kevin Clark also served at Indiana in the same office of former Temple President Neal Theobald, who was CFO in Bloomington before taking the job as President of Temple University.

Carey is the most successful, in terms of winning percentage, head coach to be hired by Temple since the legendary Pop Warner in 1933. Temple followed the same formula by hiring Wayne Hardin in 1970 but abandoned it until now.


Temple’s best two football eras came by hiring guys who were successful head coaches at other big-time programs, as witnessed by the BOT’s putting their money where their mouths were here to hire Pop Warner.

College football is a little different now than it was then, and Hardin’s Navy record (38-22-2) was more impressive than Rod Carey’s 52-30 mark because it came against a higher level of competition. Hardin won a major bowl game and had Navy ranked as high as No. 2 once. That’s like present-day Temple hiring a current Power 5 coach who had his team ranked No. 2. Even though the Owls got a $6.5 million buyout windfall recently, the landscape of college football is not going to allow for a school like Temple to hire a Nick Saban or a Dabo Sweeney.

Temple now has the money to do what Power 5 schools almost exclusively do, though, hire successful FBS head coaches.

It says a lot about how far the Owls have come in that they are able to get an accomplished head coach rather than roll the dice on another unproven assistant. Mostly, they’ve been lucky enough to keep their heads above water since following the Al Golden model in 2005.


Golden did a superb job reviving the patient with CPR and left after nine- and eight-win seasons. The university then handed over the reins to Florida OC Steve Addazio, who used the Golden talent to go 9-4 with a bowl win. Temple dodged a bullet, though, when Boston College took Daz off Temple’s hands after a 4-7 season.

Then came Matt Rhule and a two-win learning curve season (with arguably six-win talent) and sizzle-more-than-steak Geoff Collins (15-10 a lot of learning curve losses and a subpar mostly FCS-level staff).

Now comes the steak of Carey and a more FBS-level staff. Only time will tell if it’s well-done but at least the chef has cooked something that tasted pretty good before.

Monday: The Presser

Wednesday: What Foley and Brown Should Be Telling Carey

Friday:  Coordinators and First-Year Losses

Monday (1/21): 5 Things We Won’t Miss About Mayhem

Wednesday (1/23): The No. 1 Recruiting Priority


57 thoughts on “Rod Carey Hire: More Steak Than Sizzle

  1. agree 100% with you. I like the hire and have high hopes

  2. Won’t know until the season start but I’m looking a this hire as on the surface getting a guy who looks to be better on the X’s and O’s side of things and has acted as the “CEO” of a program. I’ve read comments from folks about him winning with other peoples recruits, which is obviously the case his first 2 years at NIU but with the talent he is inheriting here that may be a good thing. After all that is all Diaz would have been doing in his 1 or 2 years here and at least with Carey he doesn’t need a learning curve to figure out how to be a head coach. As for recruiting, Brown and Infante should have that covered and Carey can lean on them early on to understand the landscape in this area. Also will be interesting to see how he fills out the rest of the staff.

  3. Do we know anything about what kind of offense he favors?

  4. His staff, his staff, that is what interests me now.
    In theory what level of asst coaches would he know , MAC ?

    • Let’s see. Collins coordinators were from Coastal Carolina and Kennesaw State. I will take MAC assistants over FCS assistants.

  5. The irony being, Rod Carey’s first two years were sizzle, once he ran out of the previous staff’s players, his steak has turned out to be cheap, expired, round chuck. All the work that Golden, Daz, Rhule, and Collins have done to build a house is about to be taken down like NIU, a once feared G5 program that played in the Orange bowl, now an also-ran celebrating their coach taking another job.

    This move will prove costly once Russo and Mack are gone, and the real Rod Carey shows up. That’s IF he doesn’t use Temple to get the P5 job he squandered getting the last couple of years.

    • Not entirely true because he won the MAC this season by beating Buffalo in the championship game, a team Collins and Patenfraud couldn’t.

      • Don’t think Rod Carey loses to Villanova, but you could also say that about head coaches from Towson, Stony Brook, Maine, JMU, etc., etc. This is a huge upgrade from Collins and I think we will find that out on 9/28/19.

      • Collins also beat Maryland, a P5 team, something Rod Carey didn’t do this year. In fact, Carey didn’t come within single digits against any of the P5 teams he played, including the worst FSU team in their history. So arbitrarily picking one game in a season to judge a coach is not a good move.

        Instead, judge him by the following:

        1)His record significantly dipped after an initial hot first two seasons. This is usually attributed to a coach unable to recruit and develop once the previous regime’s established veteran guys cycled out.

        2)He’s been at a G5 school for six years. A G5 school that the two previous coaches left for P5 jobs. This should be a red flag when no P5 schools are looking to poach your coach. We can complain about the head men leaving over the years cause it’s frustrating, but having P5 schools poach Temple guys the last few years is at least a sign of a winner.

        3)His lack of experience and coaching recruiting in this area. His record indicates he’s a weak recruiter, the lifeblood of Temple’s success the last decade.

        4)When fans and alumni are celebrating him taking another job, it’s never a great sign. Sure, it’s often some sour grapes involved, but the stories from fans and boosters sounds like a guy who just doesn’t get it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets rid of the single digits tradition and tries to recruit 2nd tier midwestern BIG rejects.

        Finally, look at the track record of this conference:

        First time head coaches: Matt Rhule, Todd Herman, Scott Frost, Josh Heupel, Coach Ken, Mike Norvell. 100% of the Conference Titles and runner ups.

        Established Head Coaches: Charlie Strong, Tommy Tubberville, Randy Edsall, Willie Fritz. Hot seat, Fired, about to be fired, spinning wheels.

        Young first time Head Coaches are hungry, great recruiters and developers, and can quickly build a culture and program. Established guys are usually failures looking for a second chance with very little want to do anything with their new program but arrogantly repeat the same mistakes they made the first time.

        This is a bad move. A desperate panic move by a school who can’t afford to to make desperate panicked moves.

      • Oh, btw, Rod Carey has a loss to 1-AA Western Illinois on his resume. So maybe he doesn’t beat Villanova. Something Collins also did if we’re all of a sudden making Nova the measuring stick.

  6. Maybe now Temple can beat the MAC teams? Other than that, time will tell. We could have done worse – and probably better, but we’ll see.

  7. Also, is Indiana really the football school we want to be?

  8. “His teams play unmotivated, his offensive schemes are atrocious, he’s quick to toss his players under the bus, and his failure to prepare the team for clutch games have resulted him not winning a single bowl game in 6 appearances (most of which are us getting slaughtered). His record is inflated because we beat crappy teams and the MAC West has been pretty bad.

    Also, if I’m being frank, he just seems like a dick. Under Novak, Kill, and Doeren the team had a real blue-collar, underdog feel to it. The team’s motto, “The Hard Way”, was taken to heart because the players were passed up and ignored by bigger programs so they played with a chip on their shoulder. Then enters Rod Carey, who stumbled his way to the top from being the OL coach after our OC left because of a cancer diagnosis and Doeren left for NC State. His personality comes off as quite arrogant and that seems to trickle down to the team, which instead of being the guys who want to take down the best and prove people wrong are more content with being the big fish in the small pond that is the MAC West.”-Sounds like we got a guy you really gets “Temple Tuff”

    • He’s a facebook (and real) friend who has responded many times to my posts. When I worked at the Inquirer, his desk was very close to mine.

    • John, spit on with your comment, clicked the link and got a definite sense of having read all of that here. Can’t disagree with too much of what Jenson “wrote”

    • Good call, John Belli. I couldn’t sleep last night so I went to TFF and read Mike’s blog post at 1 a.m. or so. Jensen’s time stamp for his piece was 11:17 a.m. this morning. I think Mike should sue Jensen for plagiarism. Eerily similar. I’m not as enthusiastic about this hire as the two Mikes are but I agree this guy is better than Collins and Diaz. Just getting Patenfraud out of here is worth it.

  9. Rob: “In fact, Carey didn’t come within single digits against any of the P5 teams he played, including the worst FSU team in their history. ”
    That is just flat-out wrong.

    ANY of the P5 teams he played?
    I’m counting wins at Nebraska, Iowa, Northwestern, Purdue and Kansas.

    That’s five wins.
    I’m not real good at math, but I think when you actually have MORE points than the other guy, you come within single digits.

    • My mistake, should’ve qualified about this past season since you guys were using this past seasons results against Geoff.

      As for his wins against P5 teams, it’s only 4. The win against Kansas was when Dave Doeren was the head coach.

      Nebraska: 4-8 that year, fired their coach
      Northwestern: 5-7
      Purdue: 1-11
      Iowa: 8-5

      So, the only impressive P5 win was against Iowa and came in 2013, when, again, he was winning with the end cycle of Dave Doeren/Jerry Kill.

    • Mike,
      Carey is 4-9 against P5 teams during his tenure, the Kansas win was under Doeren during the season. During the same time frame TU was 4-7 under Rhule and Collins (counting ND as P5) Against ranked teams in the same period NIU was 2-3 and TU 3-8. As for first time head coaches only Herman an Heupel were truly in their first year at that position, and Heupel did it with the previous staffs players. Let’s wait and see where UCF is 2-3 years from now, if Heupel hasn’t moved up to a P5 school by then. For me let’s see how the team performs, with the talent returning I still think TU should be in the hunt for the conference title. So if Carey can get to that level, with the players he inherited in a stronger conference big positive. As for recruiting valid point about not knowing the area but using Heupel again outside of playing 1 year on the Dolphins you could the same thing about him and Central Florida. That’s where Brown, Infante and Foley come into play. Carey needs to lean on them his first year and start building his local relationships. Again I have no clue how successful he’lol be but have to think he’s been in the business long enough to know that is key

  10. This argument will be settled on 9/28/19. I figure Temple will be anything from a 4-7 point underdog against P5 talent. Knowing Collins and, especially, Patenfraud, I’m taking Temple OUTRIGHT with the money line.

    • Disagree, the argument will be settled starting in 2021 and on. This team is winning 10 games next year regardless of who the coach is, and assuming Russo and Mack and others stay, probably 10 the next year as well. Once all those guys have cycled out, and assuming Carey stays and doesn’t cash in on the success (boy, can’t wait to see this blog if that happens) then we’ll see how smart and good this move was for the overall program.

      It’s also not a good judgement point when everyone knows Tech is going to struggle next year regardless of who they hired. They have to take a team recruited, built, and used to the triple option to adjust to an entirely different and more modern offense and defensive scheme. It’s going to take Mayhem at least 2-3 years for that transition.

      • You won’t have to worry about 2021. Carey will be gone to the P5 if the Owls win 10 games. That’s the lay of the land in college football. I agree. AAC is much better than the MAC and P5 teams are much more likely to poach successful coaches from the AAC than the MAC. This is a career move Carey had to make. … and I’m willing to bet $20 that GT will be favored over Temple and Temple will win nonetheless.

      • Why wouldn’t I worry about 2021? The whole complaints an issues half of the time is coaches not sticking around. Isn’t that why we hired him?

      • No, the reason we hired him is to win with this great team and QB as we have now. I’m not as sure Manny DIaz would have done that as I am this guy will. Little more certain Chris Creighton or Lance Leipold would have, but this guy seems to have the ability to win with good talent.

      • But the problem is, he “won” with great talent he was already familiar with having worked on the NIU staff for years. He knows nothing about Temple, the players, the staff, the facilities, the location, the region, etc. All first year coaches, with the occasional exception, are going to have a major adjustment period, especially when they’re a geographic fish out of water. Going with what NIU fans have said. He’ll come in here, lose the single digits, lose the Temple Tuff mantra, his offenses aren’t very good, and if he sticks around, we’re looking at major setbacks down the road. I get you want “experienced head coach”. But that’s not what Temple is or should be about unless it gets a P5 invite.

  11. And I don’t know how much GT will be favored or not. They’re gonna get blown out week 1 against Clemson, probably lose week 2 to USF and struggle with the Citadel. Temple very well could be a home favorite. And again, I expect Temple to win.

  12. Georgia Tech is in trouble. Collins has to turn triple option guys into guys who can run Patenfraud’s offense without a QB who can throw the ball consistently. Look how it turned out for TU when those clowns changed the offense here. He’ll be lucky to win three games next season.

    • Wasn’t Wallace doing something similar at one point during his tenure one of the myriad of factors that contributed to that regimes failure ?

  13. Mike, I have not agreed with you on everything ( a little disagreement and debate is healthy ) but I 100 percent agree with you on this pick after the Diaz fiasco. We needed an established Head Coach. We were not at the negations with Kraft but I am willing to bet Kraft was making sure we had a candidate who wanted Temple for Temple and not just a stepping stone. Yes I agree if he wins 10 plus he possibly moves on. I am sure the buyouts are bigger. Remember Kraft said he wanted some stability. Also, the loyalty of keeping the three new assistant coaches was added as a condition that probably turned some away this time.

    Sometimes reading the comments, it seems we are expected to hire a coach who has 10 plus wins. That is not reality in the current climate. I also feel Temple has a lot more to offer as a school then NIU and with Browm and Foley on the staff it wiill make recruiting at Temple better then NIU. I am very happy with this hire. While a step below the P5, AAC is a step above all other G5 schools. I am very happy with this move. Obviolsy, we will not know truly until next year and beyond. The Diaz fiasco could be a blessing in disguise. The old formula I think was fine for a while but we were getting to a point where it was not sustainable. Everybody wanted the Temple job when Collins left because their were new rules. After Diaz left, I think Kraft woke up realizing we are better then that and created rules. I feel the Owls future will get brighter.

    • I was there for the presser this afternoon. More on that Monday. Very impressed that Carey told Kraft to not worry about the buyout and set it as high as he wanted. That says a lot more to me than “I wanted to sign a 15-year contract” (Rhule) or “I love South Philly macaroni” (Daz). Off point, I found it very humorous that Carey is the SPITTING image of long-time Temple fan MH55. I thought they gave the job to Mark when I first looked at the podium. 🙂

  14. Seems all agree Carey will do better with Collins’ talent than Collins would, especially with P’fraud gone. Concern is how fast will he adjust to the AAC? it’s a bigger, faster league than MAC.

    • Saw a few of the players there today as well. I was kinda disappointed that was the first time Rod had a chance to talk to them in that setting with the fans and press there. Told the players they were going to have fun and hit hard and that he was also disappointed that it wasn’t arranged so he could talk to them first. I assume the lawyers were working right up until 4 p.m. Pat Kraft waved and said hi to me and I shook Larry Dougherty’s (SID) hand and talked to both Larry and Scott Walcolf (assistant AD) and shook his hand as well. Temple is in good, err, hands. I did not go to the earlier presser because I thought Temple made a mistake by hiring a guy who was only going to be here for a year and back to Miami. I was wrong. It was 17 days. I was not surprised. Can’t guarantee this guy will be here more than a year, but will guarantee at least two years and I hope they are both 10-win ones.

      • Ominous.., Carey opening remark, “there were more good things said about me in the last six minutes than the last six years”

        did he just admit the last six years he sucked and was the brunt of criticism? that was worst opening remark I’ve ever heard from a HC..,

        wow.., 6-6 here we come

      • Wanna bet? I bet you $20 bucks we win more than six. I was there. It was a humorous remark. Collins lost to Buffalo at home. This guy beat a favored Buffalo team with all the marbles on the line. That says more than a throwaway remark in a press conference.

      • Mike, school’s not back in session until Monday. few students are around.

      • Rock Armstead was there carrying a gallon of water.

  15. i just finished watching the complete intro video.., can you say older than old school.., no wonder why this guy can’t recruit.., hard to imagine this guy ever having the locker room

  16. Hey, I feel Neutral ( not hi & not lo) on this new coach. I bet other are in same mood.
    Watching his press conf into yesterday I noticed he wasn’t very exciting.
    Then upon consideration I said ‘ good ‘, we’ve had enough of rah rah bullshitsaleman for a while.
    Hope he can recruit. Does it take rah rah bullshit with bling and blitz to recruit good players today ?

  17. In addition I say the MAC always has a many very good players, So if he can tap into NIU and MAC pool then he may pick up 2 or 3 nice players.

  18. Carey is Frantastic! Di Michele, Brown, Infante, and Foley are the McKies to success.

    • I will take 4 division titles, two league titles and 0-6 in bowl games the next six years and sign for that now. (Bowl games will be like the AFL-NFL pro bowl or NBA all-star games going forward with many, many players sitting out and only sophomores and juniors playing.)

      • maybe, look what Duke’s Jones did to us and for himself in a bowl game

      • Unfortunately, I think young David will be considered an outlier. He almost got himself killed by our D-Line in the first half. David Cutcliffe, being the good PROVEN WINNING head coach that he is, adjusted the protections at halftime and our IDIOT unproven DC did not realize that until the game was over and did not counter-adjust. Idiot DC and OC=both Georgia Tech’s problem now.

  19. A couple bowl wins sprinkled in would be nice Mike – help recruiting too as the bowls are in a national spotlight I’m sure the HS kids watch. Glad we got a HC to compare to the high profile coordinators. Carey seems a bit middlin’ to me, but with Temple’s talent we’ll see how the game-day coaching goes. Some 9-10 win seasons would be nice. We need to see a winning season to start and win those should-win games (the Bucknels) next season. Hopefully he can break his winless bowl streak. We’ll see, we’ll see, we’ll see……

    • prediction:

      1. His first year will be his best year at Temple. following years will suffer a huge drop in depth and overall talent.
      2. Inability to connect with the players, inability to recruit conference best players, and the rising strength of the AAC will force Temple to let this guy go after between years 3 and 4.
      3. We’ll go back to what worked, hire an up and coming coordinator just like the schools (Cincy, UCF, Memphis) who will have kicked our butts during the Carey era.

      • Prediction: None of those three will be applicable, especially the firing part. You forget. Temple NEVER fires anybody. It’s a unique school in that regard.

      • I think it’s sonewhat if a misnomer to put Cincy in that hiring the up and coming coordinator category. Even though it was only for 1 season I think people forget Fickell was HC at Ohio State, went 6-6 and lost bowl game for 6-7 overall record. So yes UCF and Memphis did that with Norvell having a good 3 year run so far but with his second being his best. For UCF we’ll see when the roster is majority players recruited by Heupel.

      • True

  20. Fran Brown must be shakin his head.., he knew Diaz was gone in a year or two.., now this new guy comes along and promises to be furniture..,

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