As if he didn’t have enough work to do, new Temple coach Stan Drayton was given another task by the Temple administration last week.
Making phone calls.
Like the calls to recruits and portal transfers and other coaches, the latest calls were just as important.
Maybe more important.
Drayton called a hefty number of fans who had been season-ticket-holders but for some reason or another decided to put the money away the last two years.
The diplomatic reason is COVID but I suspect the real reason Temple season tickets dropped particularly last year was the abysmal performance of the prior coaching staff.
Notice we didn’t say “team” because the kids who left for other teams depleted the talent level on the roster so much so that the kids who were left behind couldn’t compete.
I got a little taste of what was to come at the 2019 tailgates when several parents mentioned to me at post-game tailgates, “Mike, nobody likes the guy (Rod Carey) and everyone wants out.”
If that was in the late stages of an 8-5 season, you can imagine the patience completely ran out after 1-6 and 3-9 seasons.
It’s apparent Drayton has stopped the bleeding of players out the door, welcomed a lot of good players into the program and is liked by the team, all the while instilling discipline necessary to compete at a high G5 level.
You need players and coaches committed and Temple has that.
The last piece of the puzzle is fans and Temple must show the rest of the college football world that the buzz around the program extends beyond the practice facility and into the stands.
With those phone calls, it’s apparent Drayton understands what’s needed and a personal appeal to the Prodigal Son fans is an excellent way to start.
Getting the Doubting Thomases, though, back into their seats requires a win at Duke and, if Drayton understands the first three pieces of the puzzle (as he’s demonstrated), he surely understands what he has to do next.
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.
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.
Had an interesting text back-and-forth with a longtime observer of Temple football who mentioned Candidate X (we won’t say who his name is) and added confidently, “he checks all the boxes.”
“Where’s the box for prior head coaching experience?”
“Err, all the boxes except that one, I mean.”
“That’s a box, too, and a pretty important one.”
“You mean like Rod Carey?”
“No, Temple needs to find a guy who checks all 10 boxes, not nine of the 10 boxes. Carey checked the head coaching box, but didn’t check the other nine boxes (things like knowledge of the recruiting footprint, Temple personnel, etc.)”
My point was that if you can get a guy who has head coaching experience, knowledge of Temple personnel and recruiting footprint and all the other boxes, why not go for the 10 boxes, not the nine?
If someone like that wasn’t out there and available, that would be one thing but there are a few.
Our post from Dec. 3 … I still have that feeling and I hope to hell I’m wrong.
Hopefully, the Temple administration gets a guy who checks all the boxes and, in my opinion, that eliminates all but a very few top candidates.
Al Golden checks all the boxes. Gabe Infante checks all the boxes and, to a lesser extent, a guy like Chris Partridge (Ole Miss DC) checks all the boxes due to his one year as head coach at Paramaus High. Lesser extent is the key phrase here. In fact, Preston Brown’s two seasons as a regional South Jersey championship head coach catapults him over Partridge in the all-important head coaching box. He already has him beaten in the knowledge of Temple and recruiting department. (Although Partridge does have a rudimentary knowledge of Mid-Atlantic recruiting.) Golden and Infante, like both Fran and Preston Brown, are popular with the players (and the players’ families) and have the added bonus of being winning head coaches.
Golden, Infante, Patridge and Brown pairs the guys who check all of the boxes to just four. Dan Mullen checks the head coaching box, as does Eastern Michigan’s Chris Creighton, but getting a guy who understands Temple in and out are the top boxes. Mullen and Creighton strike me as Carey 2.0. While all of the other high-profile head coaches have gone to the big power schools, Temple does have a chance to hire one head coach who would be better for Temple than all of them.
Head coaching experience might not be the most important box, but it needs to be on the “all boxes” list. It would be nice to have a coach who locks down special teams, who has an attacking defense (and not a slogan like Mayhem) and a ball-control offense that keeps your own defense off the field.
That comes with experience calling the plays and being a CEO of a successful program. College experience is preferred, but if you’ve proven you can be the CEO of a championship program at a lower level, that’s better than a running backs coach who has not.
Why do I get the feeling that Temple will hire someone who checks some of the boxes and not all?
That’s because the names I’ve been hearing, like Texas connections Elijah Robinson (A&M line coach) and Stan Drayton (Texas RB coach) keep popping up.
If the search committee serves as a guardrail in place so that another crony hire doesn’t blow up in Temple’s face (like Pat Kraft and Rod Carey and Bill Bradshaw and Fran Dunphy), it will have served its purpose.
Hopefully, they’ve got a list that doesn’t miss any boxes and they check them all off.
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.
In the end, Temple’s firing of Rod Carey was a business decision.
Do you let the contract run its course and pay the money owed to Carey or do you cut the losses and move forward?
Temple chose to move forward. For that, every single Temple Owl owes a debt of gratitude to athletic director Arthur Johnson and President Jason Wingard today.
(Not to mention those two owe Carey a $6 million debt.)
The bottom line Johnson and Wingard faced after Saturday was that do you play the next three years in an empty 70,000-seat stadium, watch an entire roster walk out the door and lose with Carey or generate enthusiasm, stop the roster bleeding and win with the next guy?
Johnson and Wingard correctly chose the latter option.
There will be plenty of good candidates and one great candidate to replace Carey and the question today is if the great candidate isn’t interested, plenty of people better than Rod Carey will.
Looking at the business end of it, hiring Al Golden is a no-brainer.
One, he already proved he could do the job at the exact same place with even heavier lifting than will be required now.
Two, he would bring instant credibility with the fans and sell gobs of season tickets. (Don’t know what gobs are but if you accept Temple’s number of approximately 10,000 season tickets sold for 2021, he could easily double that with a name recognition factor.)
Three, he comes with a binder full of recruiting contacts up and down the East Coast and would be welcome by all high school coaches into any building he wants to visit in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. (Carey was disliked by most Pa. and Jersey high school coaches.)
Four, he would bring an NFL pedigree with him having coached in the NFL since his departure from Miami. Every Temple player at least has dreams of playing in the NFL and he can show them what they need to do to get there.
Five, he probably has a burning desire to get the bad taste of Miami out of his mouth and Temple would provide him with the opportunity to do it. (And, really, how bad was a 33-25 record at Miami despite crippling sanctions?)
In a business where winning comes first and the bottom line comes next, there’s no one who fulfills those requirements for Temple more than Al Golden.
If the front end of today’s decision was based on business, the back end should be as well.
Another Monday goes past, another opportunity for a Rod Carey firing press conference goes by with a swing and a miss from the Temple administration.
It looks like Temple fans are stuck with this guy for another week.
Meanwhile, a lucky 13 other universities have already fired their head coach with an eye on the all-important Dec. 15 early (and really only these days) signing date.
Hopefully, new athletic director Arthur Johnson and new Temple President Dr. Jason Wingard are making their early Christmas lists for head coaches and checking them twice. Or they could be twiddling their thumbs which would be a disaster on the order of what we’ve seen on the field the last five weeks.
A number of names have surfaced in social media circles, some appealing, some not. We’re going to eliminate all of those names who don’t have head coaching experience anywhere and come up with the five most appealing names so far.
5. Tom Herman, offensive analyst Chicago Bears
Plusses: Knows the AAC, knows current Temple AD Arthur Johnson, beat Temple in the 2015 AAC title game so at least is aware the school exists.
Minus: Very little knowledge of Temple’s recruiting footprint and doesn’t fit the profile of past successful Temple coaches.
Rating: Probably a lot better than Carey (who isn’t?), but his ceiling at Temple is right around 6-6.
Verdict: Hard pass
4. Dan Mullen, ex-Florida head coach.
Plusses: From the Philadelphia area, knows the Temple recruiting footprint, a great gameday coach in all but this season.
Minus: Probably won’t have the energy needed to be a Temple head coach so his ceiling is probably around 7-5.
Verdict: At least worth a look.
3. Preston Brown, current director of Player Personnel, Temple football
Pluses: Has been a championship head coach, knows not only the Temple football recruiting footprint but every current Temple recruiting target. Would be able to stop the transfer portal bleeding that Temple has experienced under Carey. Record as a head coach 41-23. Rebuilt Woodrow Wilson High from an 0-12 season to two-straight South Jersey Group 3 titles.
Verdict: A potential home run hire who might do for Temple football what John Chaney did for Temple basketball. Ceiling: Double-digit winning seasons.
2. Gabe Infante, current running backs coach, Temple football
Plusses: A 91-23 record as head coach at St. Joseph’s Prep after a successful stint as a head coach in New Jersey, knows both sides of the river, has won four large school PIAA state championships in Pennsylvania, two-time National High School Coach of Year, players love him. Ceiling: Multiple AAC titles.
Verdict: If the next guy says no, he’s your guy.
Al Golden, linebackers coach, Cincinnati Bengals
Plusses: Knows Edberg-Olson Hall inside and out, loved by all the support staff and alumni and fans, has the “secret sauce” to win at Temple, would create instant excitement and credibility with the fan base that no other candidate would. He’s already in the school’s Hall of Fame and probably would have the kind of successful second stint at Temple head coach that Bill Snyder did at Kansas State. Would include Infante and Brown on the new staff and one could be named head coach in waiting.
Minus: Might not have the same burning desire to rebuild Temple the second time and is probably not as good a game day coach as the above four. Ceiling is 8-9 wins a year, but his floor is 6 wins and, since the floor has collapsed the last two years, Temple might want to shore that up before looking at ceiling repairs.
Verdict: Like Bill Bradshaw wrote on that yellow legal pad in 2005, “this is our guy.” Temple would have to woo him like a five-star recruit and hopefully Johnson has that salesman trait in him.
Somewhere in the new few days, the person who will be Temple’s new athletic director will sit down with the President and the Board of Trustees and discuss a vision for the future of the Owls’ athletic program.
Memo to that guy or gal:
Tell the BOT that you won’t be scheduling Wagner in football anymore or, for that matter, Stony Brook or Bucknell and you will work to get Lafayette and Rhode Island off future Owl schedules.
The reasoning is simply this: The entire goal of the Temple athletic department should be to get in a Power 5 Conference. That ship may have already sailed but just in case it returns to the Port of Philadelphia, the university should be positioned for a promotion, not a demotion.
The way to do it is this: Schedule four Power 5 schools and beat two of them on a regular basis. Create some juice on the sidelines and in the stands. If this coaching staff can’t do it, find one that will.
When the story of Pat Kraft is written at Temple, he will be known for a formula that puts a FCS team on the schedule every year, two Power 5s and another G5 school. He will also be known for giving the Owls Geoff Collins for two years, Manny Diaz for 18 days and Rod Carey for probably a short time as well.
It’s not a good look.
The new AD should have a bolder mission for Temple sports and that’s to put the Owls on course to be a winner in their two major sports.
Around the time the Owls are thumping Wagner in a glorified practice, Diaz’s Miami team will be playing Central Connecticut State. My educated guess is that Diaz will put an 81-0 thumping on CCS, the alma mater of former Temple head coach Steve Addazio. About a thousand miles North of that game, Temple will probably beat Wagner somewhere on the order of 61-7. The most competitive game Wagner played this year was a 21-19 loss to Central Connecticut State.
What do both games prove?
That’s a wasted weekend from the standpoint of program branding. Consider this: Four years ago, Wagner played UConn to a three-point loss. The next week it lost by 10 to East Stroudsburg University, a Division II program. When I went to Temple, that school was known as East Stroudsburg State Teachers College.
Miami’s brand can survive a game against Central Connecticut State and Penn State’s brand can survive one against Villanova. Temple doesn’t have that luxury.
Temple should never play a team that had a Division II team on the schedule so recently, let alone lost to it.
The argument in the interview room should be two-fold: One, play the Power 5 and have some success against them and put fans in the stands and get television ratings in the largest available market that doesn’t have a P5 team; two, if you need to beat a FCS team to get to six wins when 130 teams play FBS football, you need to get out of the football-playing business.
Temple does not need to get out of that business but needs to rejuvenate the product by winning.
Because the Owls have proven they can win big in football under Matt Rhule and Al Golden (and to a lesser extent Addazio and Collins) and draw huge TV ratings, that should be the new AD’s vision again. Golden is out there, but if he doesn’t want the job, surely there are young Al Goldens out there who can recapture the magic of Temple TUFF.
It has been done before and it can be done in the future.
That’s the bold vision the BOT needs to hear and a plan to execute it should be outlined.
Their next words should be:
Latest update: Picked Wyoming to beat UConn, 41-7 (it won only 24-22), picked Toledo to beat Ball State 24-14 (it won 22-12), Western Michigan to beat San Jose State, 31-21 (it won 23-3), Boston College to beat Missouri, 24-21 (it won, 31-24). With that 3-1 record against the spread, we are 10-5-1 (with the push being Wyoming-NIU) ATS this season.
Picks this week: Liking 3 favorites and 1 dog this week. Wyoming 41, UCONN 7 (Wyoming favored by 29.5), Toledo 24, Ball State 14 (Toledo favored by 5), Western Michigan 31, San Jose State 21 (Western Michigan favored by 3), Boston College 24, Missouri 21 (Missouri favored by 1.5).
Last week’s update: Tulane let me down, but Wyoming easily covered, Northwestern lost, Tulsa covered, Purdue lost and Michigan State not only covered but won outright. So so far for the season 7-4-1 against the spread.
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.
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.
If Carey goes 2-10 this year (as expected by most of the outside experts), that will probably be the one statement he will be remembered for here. That’s because even with a lame duck Temple administration and questionable athletic leadership, I cannot imagine Carey surviving a 2-10 season at Temple.
Could it happen?
Sure, because his current boss survived a 9-22 season Temple. The difference, though, is that boss gave Temple three-straight league championships and this one did not.
The other difference is that schools from metro AAC cities like Memphis and Cincy and Tulsa also had to deal with Covid and were able to wrestle Covid to the ground.
Was the City of Philadelphia’s response to Covid more draconian than Memphis, Cincy or Tulsa? Perhaps but not enough to be the difference between Cincy’s 8-0 and Temple’s 1-6.
If Carey loses this season, he’s going to have to come up with a different excuse or that quote is what he will be forever remembered here.
Let’s go over what the prior Temple coaches will be remembered for saying, in no particular order:
Steve Addazio: “”I love the feel of Philadelphia. This place fits my personality . The more I’m here, the more excited I am.”
Translation: Boston also fits my personality, especially after a 4-7 season.
Al Golden: “We’re going to build a house of brick, not straw. “
Translation: Thanks, Al. You were one of the few Temple coaches who delivered what he said he would deliver. Golden could have taken a shortcut and recruited a team of JUCO All-Americans who might have gotten him the UCLA job after year one or two but he recruited from the ground up and it took him five years to right the ship.
Matt Rhule: “For me, it means a promise has been fulfilled. Temple University has been unbelievable to my family and I. Ten years we have spent here, and it has been nothing but class. Tremendous people from the Board of Trustees to the administration to the people I work with day-to-day in athletics. The people who have stood by my side. The true thing for me is to have these players who call themselves champions because that is the way they live their lives. When you win this conference, you have done something special. This is a fantastic conference with great teams from top to bottom. We have tremendous respect for everyone that we play. We can say that we did it. That is the accomplishment.”
Translation: That’s all Temple fans could ever ask for and Matt Rhule will be forever remembered as an icon because of that title.
Geoff Collins: “We will compete for championships, we will provide a world-class student-athlete experience and education, and we will represent the community with pride.”
Translation: Competing for championships doesn’t mean winning one, like Rhule did.
That brings us to our favorite quote this week from Temple offensive lineman Isaac Moore, courtesy of OwlsDaily and a tip of the hat to that site’s Shawn Pastor: “It’s Temple. You cannot lose here. Everyone knows that.”
Thanks, Isaac, for providing the mantra going forward.
Since that best represents my fervent hope for the fall of 2021, that’s my favorite Temple quote of the year. If losing to Covid in 2020 means refusing to lose in 2021, that’s a trade I’m willing to accept.