Just the other day, St. Joseph’s University gave up a whole lot of stability for a future of uncertainty.
Unfortunately, we won’t know if the firing of Phil Martelli as that school’s head basketball coach is a good thing or a bad thing until a couple of years down the line because we don’t know who the new guy is.
When former athletic director Bill Bradshaw turned Temple football from a perennial loser into a perennial winner by hiring Al Golden he said famously: “Let’s try winning.”
Now his successor, Dr. Pat Kraft, seems to be saying, “let’s try adding stability to the winning.”
The stability Kraft purchased with $10 million of monopoly money is a whole lot recognizable. Kraft made the buyout of new head coach Rod Carey $10 million partly because that’s exactly the amount that UCF made Josh Heupel’s buyout. UCF went unbeaten during the regular season and, if anyone was the hot young head coach out of the AAC, it was that guy.
None of the Power 5 teams in need of a head coach approached him, partly because the buyout was $6 million higher than the going rate for such things. Even the Board of Trustees for big-time schools have limits.
“I told Pat to make it (the buyout) whatever he wanted,” Carey told the press on the day he was hired. “I wanted to be here.”
The difference between St. Joe basketball and Temple football is this: Temple got a guy who already was a successful head coach on the level Temple football is trying to play and gave that new guy more talent than he had in his last place of employment. Unless St. Joe is able to hire someone like Buffalo coach Nate Oates there is no certainty that it traded stability for excellence. St. Joe is more likely to grab the Swarthmore coach than Oates and that is no slam dunk. Temple fans found out that a guy who was a legend in Division II doesn’t automatically become a legend in Division One.
Temple now has both stability and excellence and the fact that Temple foes can no longer recruit against the Owls using the argument that the coach is likely to leave is going to reap rewards in that area. That, plus the fact that assistant head coach Fran Brown is one of the best recruiters in the business.
Kraft promised a team weary of the revolving door of coaches going through the revolving door E-O stability and he delivered. It should pay dividends, maybe immediately, but certainly over the long haul.
Monday: The New AAC Contract
Wednesday: Thoughts on Spring Ball So Far
Friday: Mark Your Calendar
Monday: Glass Houses