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

TU coaching search: Checking all the boxes?

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.”

Hmm.

“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.

Monday: The Announcement

5 Potential Candidates for Temple HC job

Preston Brown could be the one who puts Temple football on the national map.
Al Golden

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

Gabe Infante

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.

Minus: None

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.

Minus: None.

Verdict: If the next guy says no, he’s your guy.

  1. 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.

Friday: Season Mercifully Comes to an end

Sunday: Game Analysis

New Beginnings: Recruiting

National high school coach of the year Gabe Infante would be my first choice to replace Rod Carey should the wheels fall off this year.

Maybe after nearly three years of banging his head against a wall Rod Carey has figured out a way to succeed at Temple.

Better late than never.

For MOST of the first two years, he relied primarily on his Midwest recruiting connections.

Some nice players out there but, when they get to 10th and Diamond, there has been a history of culture shock.

Not every intersection is for everybody.

The good news is that there are literally thousands of urban kids–good players from good families–who are not only used to the urban environment but prefer it.

The Owls have an established gem on the Pennsylvania side of the river in Gabe Infante. Great head coach with multiple state championships under his belt and the kids love him.

Now they have Preston Brown.

Lose one Camden Brown (Fran), gain another.

Two-time South Jersey state champion Preston Brown (holding trophy) would be my second choice to replace Carey. If Carey goes 10-2 this year, I vote for Carey to remain at Temple.

I would argue Carey got the better Brown.

Hear me out here.

The Brown who went to Rutgers was never a head coach and never won squat as a head coach.

The Brown who Temple hired this week not only won one but multiple New Jersey championships as a head coach at Woodrow Wilson.

The kids love the Temple Brown as much and maybe more than the Rutgers Brown (no relation).

Plus, Carey has now surrounded himself with legendary state championship high school coaches in the very fertile recruiting ground (Southeast Pennsylvania and South Jersey) any Temple head coach must dominate. There are more FBS players in the fourth-largest market in the country than there are in 10 of the next 35 markets.

Temple should have a huge advantage over the Cincys, Memphises and Tulsas and at least rival the UCF/USF Orlando-Tampa market. No Temple fan has been harder on Carey than me but, if anything, I’m objective.

There is no reason (none) that Temple should not compete for the AAC title every season.

The fact that Carey doesn’t feel threatened by the existence of Brown and Infante so close to his office speaks volumes for Carey’s confidence in himself and that he can do the job here.

Since I’m much more a fan of 10-2 than I am of 2-10, I hope Carey’s faith in these two great men pays off sooner than later.

Time is running out for Carey, but it is definitely on the side of Gabe and Preston. The fact that Carey doesn’t feel threatened by either guy makes me respect Rod more today than I did yesterday. Rod, I hope to hell that you succeed because 2020 reminded me more than anything that I hate losing more than I love winning.

Monday: WWGCD?