At Least Temple football has a leader

Have to agree with this guy: Navy has the nicest fans of any team Temple has ever played.

Amazing to me how much has changed in seven short years at Temple University.

Seven years ago, Temple was coming off an American Conference Championship in football on ABC-TV at noon on a Saturday, a total dominating 34-10 win over the No. 22-ranked team in the nation, Navy. That means a major network that has reach in every single county in America had the Temple game on during a time when people are accustomed to watching college football.

From a cheering and fan standpoint, the game in Annapolis seemed like a home one for Temple as the 10,000 Owl fans in attendance made significantly more noise than the Brigade of Midshipmen in Annapolis.

The late great John Chaney chimes in on moving the Temple campus to Ambler

Back home crime was an annoyance, not a crisis, but that was no different than the previous 50 or so years in North Philadelphia. On the day of the game, the several hundred fans, including me, loading up for the buses at 5 a.m. in front of the Liacouras Center had no fear of being shot or robbed.

A stadium on campus was very much in play.

Things could not have been much better for Temple students, grads or Joe Philadelphia fans.

Now it’s hit rock bottom.

Now, there’s is real crime, the football team has come off consecutive 3-9 seasons and the flagship basketball program has hired an unproven assistant coach.

Temple, the sixth-largest educator of professionals in the entire nation, is a large-enough school to deserve its own stadium on its own campus but even that is a pipe dream for now.

Maybe hiring a former Mayor like Ed Rendell (who has significant health issues) or (more realistically) Michael Nutter as a future President could facilitate such a dream but that remains to be seen. Temple needs a leader who can politically navigate the corrupt City of Philadelphia minefield but does the university even have the will to make a quick hire?

Doubt it.

There is a “committee” of leadership and no real leader at the helm. It will be that way for awhile.

Yet Temple football has a good leader, Stan Drayton, one week away from Cherry and White Day.

Despite that 3-9 season, Drayton has shown most Owl fans–including this one–that he is the guy who will lead Temple football back to the Promised Land.

The fact that the President who hired him, Dr. Jason Wingard, is no longer here should have no impact on the Owls’ success. For the record, I think Wingard got a raw deal. In the 1970s, when crime was nowhere near as bad on campus as it is now, Temple had 150 full-time police officers. Most of the time, under Wingard, they had 60. During his last week of President, they had 90. Nowhere near enough time to give Wingard a chance. Hell, they gave Aaron McKie four years to go 52-56. They could have given Wingard at least that much time.

Whose fault was that?

A brilliant idea of Pete Liacouras here.

The same BOT that fired him.

Water under the bridge now.

Business goes ahead as usual and the business of Temple football is winning.

Drayton’s got this. He doesn’t need a President to tell him how to win.

Still, got to wonder what would have happened if the Owls followed the advice of their most high-profile, President, Peter J. Liacouras, who threatened to move the entire campus to Ambler if the City of Philadelphia didn’t relent and allow the Owls to build what is now the arena that carries his name. Even John Chaney, a lifelong North Philadelphian, supported the move out of the city.

Like the story says, Temple owns 184 acres in Ambler and that’s more than enough room for 30,000 students. Hell, the current main campus only is 74 acres. Plenty of room to make Ambler the focus and to show North Philly what 13th to 15th Street, Susquehanna to Master, would look like without Temple.

Temple would have built the E-O in Ambler, not North Philadelphia, and maybe a stadium would have been more possible there than here.

We will never know but I sure would have loved to try.

Now all we can do is win and hope the “select group of leaders” secure the campus and pick someone who wants to take Temple just a little back in time.

Say, seven years.

Monday: Cherry and White Week


13 thoughts on “At Least Temple football has a leader

  1. I remember when Peter Liacouras threatened to move the entire campus to Ambler if he didn’t get the arena that now bears his name. I have often wondered what Temple University’s main campus would be like if that had actually taken place. You can bet that there would be a nice OC football stadium. And a facility for basketball something like the one currently in place on N. Broad. I can picture it – and it would have been nice IMO. But it never happened so here we are facing a chaotic situation with escalating crime on and around campus with shrinking enrollment as a result, struggling football and basketball programs, firing of the university president (for whom I really do feel sorry), etc. I’ve been around this university for a long, long time as a student, college alumni president and loyal sports fan through thick and (lots of) thin! But I still hold out hope. Go Owls!

    • The fact that security has now become a priority is a plus. It shows that the BOT is making this Job No. 1. It has to be. The university itself is at stake, not just football or basketball.

  2. Drayton is bringing in another QB. More pressing needs are OT and RB. Dawkins and Pierce

    • Yes. I think he’s hoping for a Hail Mary in the RB game. Advised against waiting in this space since the final game of last season. Ten really good running backs went elsewhere when they could have been sold on more playing time and the tutelage of RB whisperer Drayton here. We will see if it blows up in his face by October.

  3. Wingard definitely got the shaft. Got to wonder if being black had anything to do with his demise – bigotry and cheese steaks are Philly staples. Anyway, the thought of moving the whole campus was just a threat Liacouras used to get the Appollo approved – too late now to use similar threats for an OCS I presume. Not only that but the costs would have been astronomical even back then. IMO, as I’ve mentioned several times before, they never should have gotten rid of old Temple Stadium. They used to fill it up even tho it was way up near Ambler campus – not downtown, and the size fit the bill for Temple’s typical fan base and could have been upgraded and seats added for far less than a whole new stadium. But as you said Mike, what’s done is done. Temple’s BOT has proven to be a bunch of ditwads who care little about the school, their decision making and inaction on many fronts proves it.
    Well, let’s just hope the new coaches will put some fight, fight, fight back into the 2 big programs. I’ll bet Drayton has something in mind for the running game – we’ll see.

    • The BOT must stay ahead and push the coaches they hire. If not, they risk losing their man after the first good season.

      Look how long Cincy held onto Fickell.., the Cincy BOT kept pushing the program, pushing for P5, energizing a city fan base, etc…,

      The Temple BOT expresses zero vision for Temple Athletics…., thus any successful coach quickly realizes the benefits of discontinued head to wall beating. Why should any successful HC at Temple stay when they want more than the BOT wants?

      How does the Temple BOT compare with Tulane, UCF, Cincy, Houston, or Memphis BOTs? Temple would finish in the bottom have if the AAC BOTs were a league.

      You are who you hire, and what you choose. Can you imagine having a job where you’re not accountable for bad hires, or bad choices? The BOT is a self-licking ice cream cone, the best job in Philly.

      How many security personnel on campus, since when, who approves the annual budget for campus security with no questions?

      Things suck b/c our BOT sucks.

    • No being black had nothing to do with it. The majority of the facility is black and they wanted him gone. No everything is about race.

      • Never said it was about race (although Jon speculated that way). I just think you don’t give a basketball coach four years to go 52-56 and then turn around and give a President (white or black) less (police) talent and expect him to lock down security on campus in half the time.

      • As Mike said below, I was just speculating, wondering. And maybe not everything is about race, but an awful lot is – and he wasn’t just (I assume you meant)
        “faculty,” he was president.

  4. I believe an effective, interested, committed BOT would be questioning the Linc agreement with Lurie and reaching out quietly to influential politicos asking why they can’t get a similar deal to what Pitt has with the Steelers? Guess they don’t have those qualities.

    • Hell, some BOT members might be in cahoots with Lurie – but I’m just the eternal pessimist.

      • Yep. I’ve seen more photos of our BOT at Eagles’ games than I’ve seen at Temple ones. Hell, Temple has a great ex-basketball player (who shall remain nameless) who posts a photo of him and his kids at the Eagles eight Sundays a year but the last time I saw him at a Temple game was a Homecoming five years ago. It’s OK to be an Eagles fan but a Temple person should be a Temple fan first.

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