TU: One Step back, two steps forward?


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.

Every time Temple changes a head coach, and that’s far too many recently, we argue against a line of thinking in the AD’s office that Temple should take one step back for two steps forward.

That is, hiring a “promising coordinator” from a big-time program and essentially giving up one year so he learns on the job how to be a head coach and gives Temple a good back end of that contract to make up for the learning curve.

When Geoff Collins left, we argued that Temple was past all of that and the Owls could not survive this pattern of one bad year and a couple of good ones. Fortunately, it took Manny Diaz leaving after 18 days for Pat Kraft to adopt that strategy.

It worked in the sense that the Owls went sideways, not backward, in Rod Carey’s first season, unlike what they did in the inaugural seasons of Matt Rhule and Collins. While Collins went 6-6 in his first regular season, it represented a four-loss drop from the previous two with essentially the same talent.

Every new coach since Wayne Hardin left was either a failed head coach at the place before him (Jerry Berndt was 1-11 at Rice before coming to Temple) or a coordinator (Ron Dickerson, Clemson; Al Golden, Virginia; Steve Addazio, Florida; Rhule, Temple via New York Giants and Collins, Florida).

Screenshot 2020-04-19 at 11.46.30 AM

Bob Mizia (left) and Pete Righi with coach Wayne Hardin in 1975


Bobby Wallace doesn’t count because he was a Division II head coach and it could be argued jumping two divisions eliminates any game-day coaching advantages he might have had because the CEO aspect of a FBS job is so much different.


The only person who had a good first season was Addazio, and his inexperience as a head coach was somewhat ameliorated by his hiring key members of a staff coming off a national championship (Chuck Heater, Florida DC, and Scot Loeffler, Tim Tebow’s QB coach, among several).

Pop Warner had two regular winning seasons his first two years at Temple. So did Hardin. If Carey’s next regular season is a winning one, he will join that elite company.

Friday: Spring Football?

Monday: (4/27): Temple and The NFL Draft

Friday (5/1): 5 Best Next-Tier Wins

Monday (5/4): Suspending Campaigns

Friday (5/8): Virtual Press Conference

Monday (5/11): Recruiting Patterns

Friday (5/15): Smoking Out The Winners



16 thoughts on “TU: One Step back, two steps forward?

  1. Our current Head Coach, Rod Carey sure will stay with Temple until his contract runs out. He is a 50/50 chance coach, with 50/50 chance of getting better. His record will be around 50/50 with a few 7 win years for a minor bowl.
    He is going nowhere, no one else will give him the $1.8 mill per year, and he can not walk away with that money on the table.
    Later he will return afterwards to a smaller school program setting and settle for much less.
    So for now he has struck paydirt for his level.

    I am hearing – 2nd hand be-it – rumors from people knowing kids in the program or just graduated that they are not highly enchanted with him and his staff anymore.
    If true it’s a killer.

    Bobby Wallace, in a younger skin.
    My opinion.
    I hope everything I say is wrong wrong wrong.

    • I heard in the parking lot at the end of last season there would be a mass exodus of players. It was bad but not as bad as I anticipated because of those rumors.

  2. Based on TU’s past history regarding the higher paid coaches (football and basketball) and the apparent acceptance of mediocrity (6,7,8 wins) it does seem that there will be no firing and buying out of contracts. Heck, even during the horrendous losing period TU didn’t fire anyone (except Bruce Arians and look what they replaced him with!). Comparatively, just having winning seasons is a step up and satisfying to TU’s higher ups – it’s as if they’re simply satisfied just to have a DIV. 1 program no matter how good or bad they’re doing. Liacouras did fire the somewhat successful BB coach (Casey) and bring in Chaney (from a DIV. II school), but that’s a rare occurrence at TU. So, I too think Carey’s here for the long haul no matter what. The AD went for a longer-term coach and by golly that’s probably just what he got.

  3. Arians got fired because the Owls were 4-7 and 3-8 his last two years. Arians was a horrendous game day coach. I was very friendly with his assistants and was told that they had to keep him from screwing up the game plan. He just stuck with things too long and missed things. At PSU in 1985, TU dominated them when Palmer had over 200 yards rushing and all Arians had to do was tell his punt returner to either don’t catch the ball or fair catch it and TU wins. Instead, there were 2 critical fumbles that lost the game. The BYU game, BYU’s punter was kicking low line drives and he had his returner fair catch. When he finally allowed the returner to run the kid went for a touchdown. In 1988, his last year, they lost to Tulsa because Tulsa blocked a couple of kicks before Arians noticed that the holder was setting up 6 yards from the line of scrimmage. That’s why he was fired.

    • I don’t recall those events, but Bruce’s sideline was always a confused Chinese fire drill. He was slow getting plays out to the offense. Those are the differences between upcoming AC and an experienced HC.

    • OK, details I didn’t know. But comparatively, why did TU keep Bobby Wallace ad naseum and let him run the program into the ground after Arians? Arians also had a top 10 schedule nationally, which didn’t help him.

      • JonOhio: I think they let Wallace continue to destroy the program because the president wanted to get rid of football. Wallace assisted him in achieving that. When the Board of Trustees voted on doing so, the vote was 16-15. AD Bradshaw saved the day with an impassioned speech explaining why the program should not be exterminated. Bradshaw then hired Golden and the rest is history.

      • Arians had 2 6-5 records against top 10 schedules, arguably more impressive seasons than Rhule’s 2 10-win seasons against the 87th and 114th toughest schedule. The Wallace question was easy. The BOT did not care enough about football to eat his contract

  4. I like promising assistant coaches. TU is an opportunity, not a top ten ranking. I love the Tylers, PJs, Kleckos, and Boo Boos, . Overlooked diamonds who take advantage of an opportunity…like me.

  5. Nothing wrong with promising assistants with energy and enthusiasm that permeates through both coaching style and recruiting (or retaining) players. The first post nailed the issue with TU Football, you have no energy w/ Carey-coaching wise or recruiting/retaining wise. How can you have a team come out and play so flat and uninspired in a bowl game, comes down to kids not buying into a coach. Look at the sad state of TU recruiting and the number of kids that entered the transfer portal, comes down to kids not buying into the coach. Hell, you’d do better going for a young, energetic assistant from the professional ranks (Press Taylor) or from the collegiate ranks than a .500 coach from NIU. NIU, are you serious. Again, I’m no grad of TU, but love Temple football. This past year Carey took steps backward with the program and towards irrelevance. ODU hired Ricky Rhane from Penn State, I can 100% guarantee you he would have been a much better hire than Carey. Ivy league smarts, Big 12, SEC, and Big 10 background–he is a guy kids will buy into.

    I’ll give you a gimme on 2019 Buffalo loss, but to get crushed by UCF, SMU and to get waxed in a bowl game to a mediocre UNC team means there is a serious problem at the helm.

    Stay safe. I’m starting to think TU’s plan should be to consider picking up lacrosse at the D1 level. Less $ to spend. Less scholarships. The ability to put a competitive team at the D1 level in fast order. Local rivalries with St Joes’, Penn, Drexel, Villanova-the area has become a hotbed for the sport. I hate the idea of dropping football, but maybe you become like a St Joe’s–focus on where you can compete and understand that at TU unfortunately it might not be football. Obviously you don’t want to hurt current student athletes, but i see a bad trend going on down there w/ this current staff and as the school is garnering positive momentum, you are not getting that with the football program.

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