Familiarity breeds contempt is a phrase ascribed to Geoffrey Chaucer way back in the 1300s.
At Temple, familiarity has bred some bad marquee head coaching hires and contempt from Owl fans toward those who made those hiring mistakes.
Bill Bradshaw, the second base part of a LaSalle University double-play combination with shortstop Fran Dunphy, hired his old pal Dunphy to be head basketball coach at Temple.
Indiana football center Pat Kraft hired another Indiana football center of roughly the same era, Rod Carey, to take Temple football from Temple TUFF to Temple SOFT in three seasons.
Can’t be too hard on Bradshaw because he hired the two best Temple football coaches of the last two decades, Al Golden and Matt Rhule.
Now new Temple AD Arthur Johnson is faced with a dilemma: Follow the familiarity formula and hire someone like Tom Herman or Stan Drayton or conduct an open search tailored to the specific needs of his new university?
I don’t see the connection between Johnson and Herman as much as I see it between Johnson and Drayton and that’s a red flag.
As former ADs Bradshaw and Kraft demonstrated, cronyism is a powerful lure in hiring.
To me, there are a lot of good candidates and one great candidate and that great candidate is the same guy, Al Golden, who breathed life into Temple football when it was declared brain dead in 2005. Now all he has to do is perform CPR on the same patient who has fainted and that’s a much easier football medical procedure.
It’s a heavy lift, but about half as heavy as it was 15 or so years ago.
Now we don’t know that Golden is even interested in the job. There are plenty of reasons not to be but he was linked by some pretty good sources to the UCONN job and, if he gave out feelers for that one, even he knows the Temple job is a far better one. He might be playing three-dimensional chess while we’re all playing checkers in that he likes living in Cincinnati and might hold out for that job knowing that Luke Fickell could be moving on up. Maybe he’d prefer being an NFL coordinator for half the Temple salary but I’ve never seen him as anything other than a CEO and maybe he doesn’t either.
All that said, I have a sinking feeling that Stan Drayton is going to be the guy when all the dust is cleared.
Why do my sinking feelings even matter?
On the day Manny Diaz got the Temple job for 18 glorious days, I wrote this:
It wasn’t because Diaz had a prior relationship with Kraft (he didn’t), it was because Kraft was lured by getting the “hot” assistant coach.
In that piece, I said I was 100 percent against Diaz because his dad was the Mayor of Miami and he would be back at Miami in a year and Temple football would suffer because Diaz was “learning” on the job.
Well, Golden has already been in the same job and he has a graduate degree and finished first in his class.
Other candidates I’ve heard are former Golden assistant Mike Siravo, Ole Miss aide Chris Patridge, a Pitt wide receivers coach (Kenni Burns), a Minnesota running backs coach (Brennan Marion) and an Ohio State wide receivers coach (Brian Hartline). Partridge, who has had exactly one year as a head coach (Paramus High), is intriguing, as is Siravao.
Those are just a few names. There are many more.
Between Partridge and Gabe Infante, who he succeeded as Paramus head coach, I’d rather have Gabe. There’s even a good possibility that Infante, a more polished head coach than Partridge, would be able to lure Ohio State five-star quarterback Kyle McCord (with who he won three state titles) to Temple since McCord is stuck behind another freshman at OSU, C.J. Stroud.
Still, none of those guys being hired will sell 1/10th of the season tickets Al Golden will on his name recognition alone. Forget the fact that he has already proven he can perform the SAME EXACT job at the HIGHEST LEVEL possible.
Everybody else is a crapshoot. Golden is knowing you are rolling a pair of dice that only ends up in sevens and elevens.
All along I’ve maintained that Fran Brown needs to go somewhere else (FCS perhaps) and prove he can coach on the field before Temple hands the keys to a $17 million vehicle to him.
Between Marion, Burns and Hartline, though, I’d take Fran Brown any day of the week.
Hire any of those no-names from anywhere other than here and Temple fans will say: “Who?”
Guys like Burns, Marion and Hartline would be impossible sells to a fan base suffering from PTS after watching a two-year trainwreck. Golden would be the best sell by far and Brown would be better than these other assistant coaches.
Drayton might be the guy who Johnson is most comfortable but it would be as wrong a choice as Bradshaw picking Dunphy and Kraft picking Carey.
If Johnson can avoid that temptation, he will make a great hire for Temple.
If my sinking feeling never comes to pass, Arthur Johnson will prove that he’s able to make the best decisions for Temple and not for his comfort level and he would be a hero to all current Temple fans for that.
PICKS THIS WEEK: WESTERN KENTUCKY +2.5 vs. Utsa, APP ST. -2 vs. Louisiana Lafayette and WAKE FOREST +3.5 vs. Pitt (mainly because that game is in Charlotte).
Update: Waited until the last week of the season to suffer our first losing week and it was a doozy, going 0-3 with losses thanks to Wake, App. State and Western Kentucky. Finished the regular part of the season 28-25-1. Will pick and choose the bowls better.
Monday: Where Carey went wrong
Friday: Guardrails in place