How did a DC become a better job than a HC?

Roughly nine years a couple of months ago, the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame took a head coaching job at an AAC school.

It wasn’t just any defensive coordinator. It was the one, Bob Diaco, voted as the Broyles Award Winner, the best assistant coach in the country.

For UCONN, it was a spectacular fail of a hire, hitting on a number of themes we warn about here on a regular basis (i.e., being an assistant is a totally different job from a head coach and being good at one is no guarantee of success at the other).

Classroom, community, competition, complex.

Those are the four C’s that helped Al Golden build Temple from a 20-consecutive loss team to a nationally respected program.

When Golden took the Temple job, the Owls were ranked dead last in the classroom and lost scholarships due to a poor APR. By the Eagle Bank Bowl, the Owls were ranked among the best in the classroom. Under Golden, the Owls were a regular part of the community, building bridges of trust with the neighbors. The competition factor was there for all to see as the Owls went from 1-11 to 5-7 to 9-3 and 8-4 in Golden’s final season.

As far as the complex, one of Al’s secretaries told me his last sentence on the day he left the E-O was: “God, I love this place.” He then turned around and walked out the door. Miami and the big money were even more of a lure than that love.

There was some talk about Golden, like Diaco, going from an assistant coach (this time in the NFL) to head coach at UConn. No one knows if UConn offered the job to Al but I would not be surprised if the Huskies did and he turned them down.

Notre Dame might not have been on the horizon then but it certainly makes sense now than any current G5 head coaching job.

That’s because the UConn head coaching job as presently constituted is now an inferior job to the Notre Dame DC and, if Golden didn’t see that, he wasn’t reading the current college football landscape right and he’s too smart for that.

Reason being that the deck of cards that were stacked against the G5 schools even back in 2013 are even more slanted today. G5 players routinely transfer to the P5 even if they have a modicum of success and that wasn’t even a thing in 2013.

Moreso, a G5 team probably will never make the CFB playoff after Cincinnati goes to the Big 12 because one of the leagues, the ACC, is dead set against playoff expansion.

Back in 2013, there was always some hope for the G5 to eventually join the big boy club but now it looks more and more impossible.

Marcus Freeman jumped from DC to perennially top 10 program HC at Notre Dame and that’s probably the path more coaches feel will be more realistic in the future than grabbing a HC job at a G5 and moving on up to the East side.

Golden was rumored as a head coaching candidate to replace Rod Carey at Temple but at least six of his former players told me he would not take it not because it was Temple but because “he loves being in the NFL.” A contrary view by a guy who coached with Al at Temple told me that Golden himself told him that he would take the Temple job if the Owls “recruited” him. My response to that guy, who currently works in the NFL, was that since Golden is in the school’s Hall of Fame that’s a courtesy Temple should have extended him. It probably never happened because the school’s new Texas AD was enamored with hiring a guy from the same school, much like LaSalle’s Bill Bradshaw hired a guy from his school (Fran Dunphy) and Indiana’s Pat Kraft hired a guy from his school (Rod Carey).

You would think those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it but there are always exceptions to every rule and, as a Temple fan, I hope the hiring of Drayton gives the Owls a .333 batting average in crony hires. Right now, it’s 0-for-2. You know what George W. Bush was getting at when he said “fool me twice” even if it escaped him at the moment.

Well, it turned out that the Owls a) probably did not “recruit” Golden and b) that Golden didn’t love the NFL so much he wouldn’t return to college for the right job.

For him, being an assistant at Notre Dame is a better job than HC at UConn and, probably, Temple.

Sadly, for his career trajectory, he is probably right.

That wouldn’t have been the case nine years ago and that’s another reason why college football has devolved and not evolved in that relatively short span of time.

Fans of teams like Temple should take no joy in that fact.

Monday: The Calendar


TU Announcement: Avoid High Risk at all Costs

New Temple University athletic director Arthur Johnson probably had plenty of time to pull out a book while watching one of those boring 52-3 or 49-7 football losses his team had this fall.

Or maybe it was the 44-10 one or the 37-8 one?

Hopefully, he read Bob Reiss’ 2000 book, “Low Risk High Reward,” which should be must reading for any Temple athletic director and it particularly applies to the current search for this school.

Reiss played basketball on an unbeaten Columbia University team in the 1960s and applied much of his competitiveness to the business world.

Simply put, Reiss argues against the “High Risk, High Reward” theory that has been accepted by some. He advocates that low risk can produce high reward as well.

A lot of these assistant coaches Temple seems to be wooing come under the theory of “High Risk, High Reward” and, if Reiss was part of the search firm hired by Temple, he would probably present a compelling reason why that’s not the way to go for the university at this time.

Reason No. 1: There are a couple of “low risk, high reward” candidates out there so there’s no need to go the high-risk route. Reason No. 2: If the high-risk assistant proves The Peter Principle (rising to his level of incompetence), then Temple football will be sentenced to a Dark Age where they will have no choice of honoring a bad contract for the duration. Bob Diaco, the National Assistant Coach of the year who fell flat on his face at UConn, is the perfect example of a highly-regarded assistant coach not being able to handle the headset on gameday. He basically killed the UConn program.

Temple can’t afford to pay off Rod Carey, pay the next guy millions and then find out a couple years into a five-year contract that the new guy is Rod Carey 2.0.

Places like Miami and USC have the wherewithal to replace a bad coach every couple of years. Temple’s quota is one firing every generation.

They will have to suck it up and lose big for five years and that might be the death knell of the program.

The solution is simple: Lower the risk by getting a proven winning head coach (no matter what the level) who comes with an intimate knowledge of Temple and how to produce a high reward in this specific job.

Al Golden is such a guy. If he’s not interested, Gabe Infante and Preston Brown are proven head coaching winners whose time at Temple gave them an outline of what needs to be done to turn things around here.

Anyone else is a crapshoot and Temple doesn’t have the chips to play craps with this hiring.

There’s no need for the risks associated with hiring a Texas running backs’ coach or a Texas A&M defensive line coach, a current NFL assistant or even another MAC head coach.

Temple has the chance over the next couple of days to prove to the world that the lower the risk the higher the reward.

Friday: Reaction to the Hiring

Lesser than (Al) Golden: The other Temple HC candidates

Even the outside world realized Rod Carey was a panic hire.

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.

Like Manny Diaz, I have a sinking feeling that this is the guy. I hope Arthur Johnson can take a step back and realize that just because you are comfortable with the guy, it doesn’t mean he is the right guy for your school. See Bill Bradshaw and Pat Kraft 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.

and so has Temple. .. ” Six days before Diaz was hired I wrote this comment. I hope that we don’t see Stan Drayton hired six days from now.

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.

Who knows?

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:

This was our blog post on the day Temple hired Manny Diaz. We were off only about 348 days.

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?”

No thanks.

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

Golden’s secret sauce for success at Temple

Whatever Rod Carey was cooking at SUNY-Maritime for the last 10 days or so won’t be really tasted until Sept. 2 when the Owls visit Rutgers.

There’s the nagging feeling, at least from this point of view, that the ingredients are just not there and, at the end of the day, this won’t be a satisfying meal for Temple football fans when all is said and done. If I had my druthers, Carey would go 12-0 and keep his job but too many good players walked out the back door and not enough walked through the front one to make up for it.

It’s looking a lot more sour than sweet.

If so, Dr. Jason Wingard couldn’t go wrong in rescuing Al Golden from the obscurity of an NFL position coach come the end of the season.

Al Golden went to the tie in his fourth year.

If anyone knows the secret sauce for success at Temple, it’s Golden.

Last week, Golden spoke with Dave Lapham in a Youtube interview and much of the talk turned to Temple. His degree in sports philosophy undoubtedly helped.

” The biggest question I get at speaking engagements is, “How did you turn around Temple? How did that happen?’ I think the biggest thing was we took secondary educational philosophies and reversed them.

“So, in secondary education, you use sports confidence or different extracurricular activities to build confidence that would carry over into academics. We just did the reverse. We just said we’re going to win as many things. … we’re going to be great in the community, we’re going to compete in the class room, we’re going to compete in the weight room, we’re going to compete in the off-season program. We’re going to do all these things and, ultimately, that would become our culture and we’re going to get this thing turned and that’s what happened. That was a great experience for me, personally, and for my family. We loved being in that area as both of our families were from that area.

“Again (Temple) was kind of a leap of faith. I felt like I was ready, No. 1 and No. 2, I just felt like. I think the number to be correct is that 40 percent of the nation’s population lives between Hartford and Richmond and West of Pittsburgh and then again I don’t know if that number is that way today but, back then, it was so densely populated and I just kept saying to myself we needed about 18 guys a year and, from that, we just kind of changed the paradigm.”

Golden even talked about how it took him four years to switch from sweats on game day to ties at Temple.

“When we first got to Temple, every day felt like training camp,” he said. “We were so far from … there was 120 teams in Division One football my first year. We were 120. Literally there were times those first 18, 24 months where my hair was falling out and I was wearing just a sweat suit or sweat shirt on game day and it just felt like training camp. I’ll never forget before the fourth season my mom was the one who kind of got after my butt a bit and was like, “Hey, the game day is different. You have to look different. You have to feel different.’ So, you know, that’s the year I went with the tie and the rest is history.

“We won nine games in a row and that was the most in 112 years of Temple football at that time and the first bowl game in 30 years and the third bowl game in over a century and that’s where it all started.”

(Golden could be excused for the exaggeration. The Owls won 14-straight games between 1973 and 1974, but having the second-longest winning streak in 120 years should be a point of pride.)

Golden also said it was easier to win at Temple than Miami.

“The Miami thing was harder because I was blindsided,” he said. “There was a huge investigation and we had to give up bowl games and there was probation. … we met great people and that was an unfortunate circumstance.”

Temple, though, was something he took a lot of pride in for good reason. If the wheels fall off at the end of this year, Wingard could pick a lot of guys to succeed Carey but there is only one guy out there who might take the job who has done it to a high level.

“I always felt like I was ready to take the Temple job because I had gone to Boston College with Tom O’Brien and we inherited that gambling scandal,” he said. “So that was hard. Same kind of scenario because we had to start from scratch again. I had the opportunity to do it myself at Temple with a bunch of great, great coaches and support.”

The secret sauce is already bottled and the patent belongs to one guy, even though Matt Rhule made a bundle with his copy of it. Plenty of candidates will want the job if Carey falters but there is only one guy realistically available who has proven to be able to do it.

Friday: Surprise of Camp

Getting The Old Gang Back

In a perfect world, Temple would be able to correct a mistake hit the reset button.

Perfect worlds in the era of five-year guaranteed contracts are few and far between but they are worth dreaming about.

Al Golden and Matt Rhule back in the day

It has been the view here for the better part of this horrible season that, even though Temple needs to make a head coaching change, a guaranteed contract ties its hands and we’re stuck with the current regime for the full five years.

For better or worse and it’s looking more like worse.

That’s where the perfect world comes into play.

If I could wave a magic wand and change things and give Temple the money it needs to hit the reset button, I’d do one thing:

Ask Al (Owl) Golden if he’s tired of being a position coach in the NFL.

While his staff would be totally up to him, Golden would probably be inclined to get the old gang back together, hire Ed Foley away from the Carolina Panthers to fix the Temple special teams (throw in the carrot of an assistant head coach title), make, say, Adam DiMichele the offensive coordinator and Gabe Infante the defensive coordinator, pluck current Georgia State strength coach Alex Derenthal away from that program and fill the staff in around the edges.

All the core members of Golden’s would-be staff love Temple football and know the Temple brand. The current carpetbaggers from the Midwest do not.

To me, he would be interested because being the head coach at Temple because it is “more prestigious” than being an NFL position coach, especially since position coaches are nomads. Matt Patricia, who was let go by the Lions last week, fired Golden a year ago. He latched onto the job of linebackers coach at Cincinnati, but who knows how long that will last? When Golden left Temple, that job paid $500,000. Thanks largely to him, it now pays $2 million.

In college, second acts sometimes do work out, look at Bill Snyder at Kansas State and (so far) Greg Schiano at Rutgers. Snyder finished 90-35 his first time around at KSU (including a 40-0 win over Temple in 1999), took a few years off and then came back after Ron Prince proved to be an utter failure. His second time around he was 69-49. Pretty good.

Golden is a competitive guy, a great recruiter and someone who might see his second act as a chance to prove he was a better coach for Temple than his prodigy, Matt Rhule.

Gruden: “The Temple Owls play as hard as anybody in the country.”

Also, it would restore the Temple “brand” that has left the building the last couple of years. Great special teams, great defense, emphasis on a punishing running game and explosive downfield passing plays off play-action fakes.

Right now, Temple has lost its way and it has a lot more to do with the heart of the program being removed and the only sickness that has affected the program appears to be more of a malaise than any recent pandemic.

The reset button needs to be hit and three years from now could be three years too late. Temple needs to spend money to make it and getting Al Golden back would restore a lot of shaken confidence and sell a lot of tickets in what promises to be a hard-sell offseason.

Saturday: Five Guys

Best of TFF: Streak No. 1 (20)

Screenshot 2020-07-23 at 2.14.52 PM

I sat it the upper deck to watch this one with Doogie Hoops, Sal The Owl, Doc and a few others. The 20-game losing streak was over.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We take only one week vacation the entire year from this blog and it starts today so we will be running at least three Best Ofs. This year, the theme will be streaks, mostly bad, and ending them with something good. featured this post way back in October of 2006 and it got over 1,000,000 page views. The streak was a 20-game losing streak that ended something bad and began something good. The story is so old that the links don’t work, but the memories are still good.

Watching Travis Shelton show his backside to the entire Bowling Green kickoff team, I thought about a lot of people.
Most of all, I thought about Karl Smith.
And all of the other small-minded narrow-thinkers like him.
Smith is the executive editor of
You need only read a few excerpts from this piece of crap he wrote about Bowling Green putting up 70 on the Owls.
Things have changed a little since then, Karl.

…”how nice to have an extended scrimmage every year …against an overmatched opponent that actually counts in the standings,” Smith wrote …

A brief synopsis is in order. He went on to thank Temple for this and thank Temple for that and then concluded by thanking Temple for accepting an invitation to the MAC so that the Owls can be Bowling Green’s whipping boy for the next few years.
“… how nice to have an extended scrimmage against an overmatched opponent every year that actually counts in the standings,” Smith wrote.

Screenshot 2020-07-23 at 2.07.36 PM

This mention in Deadspin put TFF on the map with a 1 million page view day.

I guess he doesn’t know named the Owls 2006 freshman recruiting class at the top incoming class among MAC schools, current or future.
I guess he doesn’t care many of those recruits, as many as 18, are seeing significant playing time for the Owls this season or that these same players pushed around Bowling Green’s sophomore- and junior-dominated lineup.
He might not know that the 2007 recruiting class is ranked significantly higher than that one and that it might dwarf any recruiting class of any MAC team in recent memory.
Or maybe he doesn’t care.
And, if he can count, he knows that this same Owls will be around for the next three years. Yes, the same Owls that beat his beloved Bowling Green by two touchdowns yesterday.
We won’t assume that Bowling Green will be Temple’s whipping boy for the next few years, as he assumed the other way.
The evidence is there.
Temple is getting better.
Bowling Green is getting worse.
Get used to watching Shelton’s backside. You’ve got two more years of watching that 4.27-40 speed.
We have six players coming in with that kind of speed and the evidence suggests that Temple could literally leave Bowling Green looking permanently in its rear view mirror.
Al Golden is a young, charismatic, recruiter who kids identify with and will rally behind. He came to Temple with a deserved reputation of being a recruiter without peer and he has only enhanced that reputation so far in his year on the job.
Thank you, Karl Smith.
Thank you very much.

Monday: Streak No. 2  (49)

Wednesday; Streak No. 3 (74)

Friday: Streak No. 4 (30)

Monday, Aug. 3: Regular Programming Resumes

Owls Need To Show Signs of Life


These guys helped change the culture from a 20-game losing streak to a nine-win regular season in just four years. This current Temple team needs to win tonight if they hope to match that season.

A long time ago in a college halfway across the state, a young man named Al Golden earned a Bachelor of Science degree in a new major then called sports psychology.

He found a place to put it to good use when he arrived at Temple as the youngest head coach in the country some 14 years later.

Screenshot 2019-11-06 at 11.38.01 PM

If anything, the ECU game points to USF being the slightly stronger team recently with GT game showing the Owls being the better team earlier in the season; still not much to chose

When Golden set up shop at the E-O, he found a program as fractured mentally as it was physically. The Owls would lose 20-straight games before Golden slowly started to turn things around and right a ship that has sailed pretty much in the right direction since.

Golden understood the psychology of sports as it related to winning and losing. Winning is contagious and so is losing and, for this season, the Owls not only have lost the last two games, they looked disinterested on the sidelines. Temple has to stop the bleeding starting tonight (8 p.m., ESPN) at South Florida. Losing by 63-21 on top of 45-21 can shake your belief system, so the Owls will have to show some life tonight, especially on the sidelines.

Body language is important and Golden was the first Temple coach to make the Owls who weren’t playing at the time an important part of the team by getting everybody swaying back and forth, locking hands and cheering on their teammates. It wasn’t as hokey as some of the money down shenanigans Geoff Collins pulled recently, but a useful exercise in team bonding.

That might not help the guys on the field block and tackle better but it will show everyone that their teammates care that they do. Apparent the last two weeks has not only been the lack of blocking and tackling (and catching) but an appalling sense of resignation on the sidelines. Maybe a players-only meeting addressed that issue. We will find out tonight.

One of the things that Golden did was target captains of winning high school programs. Eighteen of his first 25-man class were captains of championship teams. “It wasn’t as important to me as getting the higher-rated recruit, as it was to change the mindset,” Golden said. “I wanted winners here who refused to lose.”

So Golden not only brought those winners in, but he applied a tourniquet in some of his psychological approaches on gameday and maybe that’s what this team needs.

If Temple football is going to do something more than just make another obscure bowl game, the game at South Florida tonight represents the last stand to recapture the brand that has stood not only for winning over the last decade but for sustained excellence.

Face it: Even if the Owls cannot get past Cincinnati and UCF in the standings, what they can control is to finish the regular season 9-3 and not 6-6 and those are two polar opposite outcomes.

Nine and three would be a good record and get the respect of people nationwide. Six and six is just the middle of the pack mediocre in a business where 130 other programs are struggling to be noticed.

Owls need to show some signs of life tonight, both on the field and in the sidelines, after not showing it anywhere for the last two weeks. Showing that they care would be a good place to start.

Predictions: Another 3-3 week. Only one game jumps out at us on the schedule this week so we’re just taking Boston College to cover the 1.5 at Florida State. For the season, we are 28-22 against the spread and 32-20 straight up.

Friday: Game Analysis

Succession Plan: Never Too Early


FIU was one of many stops for the Minister of Mayhem

There has been a lot of talk on social media, if not the real one, about this supposed succession plan Temple has with basketball coach Fran Dunphy.

It comes down to these choices:

One, Dunphy returns to complete the remaining three years on his contract;

Two, Dunphy is told he has one more year and Aaron McKie will be named coach in waiting;

Three, Dunphy is told he has one more year to get to the NCAAs or he’s out.

Following Temple athletics as closely as I have for the last 40 years, I’ll opt for No. 1 and bet a good $20 on that happening. Temple has the same kind of aversion to eating contracts as Jon Stewart has to eating at Arby’s.

What does this have to do with football?

The Owls, at least in football, have to have a succession plan for reasons probably not to their liking. This may not be the topic to talk about during spring practice, but this is the kind of thing Dr. Pat Kraft should be at least thinking about and it’s never too early.


My five-point criteria is specific: 1) Proven winner; 2) Proven ability to win as a FBS head coach; 3) ability to recruit; 4) ability to CEO and hire a solid staff; 5) ability to win at Temple


Since Al Golden left in at the end of the 2010 season, Steve Addazio and Matt Rhule have left and, the way I read Geoff Collins, he would probably be gone after eight or nine wins this year. It has nothing to do with Collins himself, just that it’s a nomadic profession that lends to stops at places like Albright, Western Carolina, Georgia Tech, UCF, Mississippi State, FIU,  Florida and Temple. He’s probably used to moving and not adverse to it. Think about it: Is something so special about 10th and Diamond that would make Collins want to plant roots in the concrete and build something here like Joe Paterno did at Penn State?

I didn’t think so.

Kraft, who probably isn’t going anywhere, has to have a few names on the piece of paper in his pocket should he get that 3 a.m. call from Collins in December.

If he does, it probably means the Owls have done something special, like win another AAC championship and that would probably be an acceptable trade-off.

To me, the next head coach at Temple is a no-brainer. My five-point criteria is specific: 1) Proven winner; 2) ability to win as a FBS head coach; 3) ability to recruit; 4) ability to CEO and hire a solid staff; 5) ability to win at Temple.

Since someone is out there who has proven all of those qualities (Al Golden) and is probably not going to get a better offer than head coach at Temple over the next couple of years, it would be wise for Kraft to keep that name and phone number on a scrap of paper in his pocket.

Otherwise, work on a guy who has at least four of those qualities.

Churning the coordinator pile is like walking through a mine field. If you get through three or four mines, there is always that fifth one up ahead. That’s the one that could blow up this program.

With a $17 million practice facility and a (possible, not probable), $130 million stadium to gamble, you do not want to roll the dice on another unproven coordinator.

Friday: Spring Practice Position Flexibility

Sunday: Done Deal II

Departures And Arrivals

There have been two visceral reactions to my learning of the departure of the last two Temple head football coaches and both occurred while listening to the radio and driving in my car.

The first came when Steve Addazio left and Harry Donahue broke in with the news on the 5:45 p.m. sportscast at KYW with these words: “There has been a coaching change at Temple … “ That perked me up a little because there is never a coaching change at Temple. I thought it might be Tonya Cardoza or some other minor sports coach moving on but instead Harry followed that slight pause with “Steve Addazio is headed to Boston College.”


Hiring an assistant can go one of two ways.

As I made the left turn on Susquehanna Road near the Rydal train station, reaction was pure joy, pounding on the steering wheel and yelling, “Yes, yes, yes!!!”  That also had something to do with Temple never firing head coaches and I felt that Addazio would have to have many 4-7 seasons, not just the one he was coming off of, to be let go at Temple.

I did not want to live through that misery again, and Addazio’s future at Temple had a Ron Dickerson, Jerry Berndt and Bobby Wallace type quality written all over it.

On Tuesday, though, turning into the parking lot at work, the guy on one of the sports talk radio stations said at 11:40 this morning: “This just in: is reporting that Matt Rhule is leaving for Baylor.” The reaction had nothing to do with joy or sorrow and was just a knowing sigh.


I knew this was going to happen last year with the Missouri dalliance when Rhule said he will always listen. I knew it was going to happen when he told a reporter who goes by the name “New Jersey Mike” in June that he cannot make promises, ostensibly to stay at Temple, and I really came to grips with it on Saturday when he told a press conference this telegraphed sentence: “It was a pleasure to have coached these kids.”

Notice the “have coached” part of that statement, which meant, at least to me, that he was not coaching the bowl game.  That’s OK, too, because the sanctions under which he will have to work with are crippling enough. He needs to recruit for Baylor and someone else needs to keep the current Temple recruiting class together (maybe Francis Brown).

I wrote Matt an old-fashioned handwritten letter upon returning home from work and placed it in the neighborhood mailbox after working out at the gym. I hope he gets it:

Dear Matt,

Thank you for giving me last Saturday, the very best of many great days I have spent as a Temple football fan over the last 40 or so years. Thank you for the way you and your wonderful players represented this terrific university and I wish you and your family many similar joyous days like Saturday in the not-too-distant future.

Good Luck,

Mike Gibson

That deals with the departure part of it, and now we get to the arrival area. To me, the university needs to no longer roll the dice with the hiring of an assistant coach. Being an assistant is not the same as being a head coach. It is a totally different job. You can be a great assistant and a terrible head coach. The world is littered with such examples. UConn found that out the hard way by hiring the “hottest” assistant coach available in Bob Diaco and that hiring turned out to be a train wreck.

NO MORE ASSISTANT COACHES. I don’t care if they are hot assistants, cold assistants, lukewarm assistants. Temple University should hire a proven winning head coach who has done it for multiple years at the FBS level, preferably at Temple University.

Al Golden, who has won here as a HEAD COACH, knows how to win and recruit here, is available and the current tight ends coach with the Detroit Lions. Ask yourself if you would rather coach the tight ends at the Lions or be head coach at Temple. He was 32-25 as a head coach under brutal sanctions at Miami and got fired for not achieving unrealistic expectations. He, above all other people, knows the grass is not always greener on the other side of the 10th and Diamond fence. If Golden can make written assurances with an astronomical buyout that guarantees a longer second stay, he is, as Bill Bradshaw wrote on that yellow legal pad in 2005: “Our guy.”

Thursday: Finished Business

Going North To Go South


If doing this a lot does not cause burnout, nothing does.

Sometime in the first year of Al Golden’s tenure at Temple University, I stopped at the SAC to purchase some Temple gear and, much to my surprise, I saw the coach jog by me in the general direction of leaving the green zone, near 12th and Montgomery.

It occurred to me then that if there was ever a time for a coach to “burn out” that was it. Golden had to deal with a 20-game losing streak, a nationally low APR, and had to weed out so many of Bobby Wallace’s mistakes that it was a wonder he would field a team.


This may have been the greatest day in Temple football history.

He didn’t, and somehow found as much strength to rebuild Temple that he showed courage in jogging toward 12th Street and who knows how far East. The 20-game losing streak would end the next week, and a bowl game came not all that much longer after that.

Now, we have learned from this story that Golden was “burned out” from the combination of coaching at Temple and dealing with unrealistic expectations at Miami. If Golden went 33-25 at Temple, like he did at Miami, there would be a statue of him in front of the E-0. Instead, for being a winning coach, he got fired. Now he is the tight ends’ coach with the Detroit Lions.

Golden went North to go South, which means that he will end up at a better place as a head coach and should be able to recharge his batteries. It’s ironic that both Golden and Steve Addazio saw fit to leave Temple and ran into tougher times elsewhere. Temple caught a huge break when Daz left on his own, because Temple does not fire coaches. Sometimes, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. Acres of Diamonds means something here.

No one knows when or if Matt Rhule will get burned out at Temple, but he does have the advantage of not having to deal with those same APR troubles as Golden did. He seems to like Philadelphia, and has enough perspective to know that coaching his kid’s baseball team will somehow keep those batteries on constant recharge for Temple.

Knowing what happened to the two coaches who left before him might keep him grounded for awhile. At least it has got to be part of any thought process, as Golden used to say, going forward.