TU: One Step back, two steps forward?


Temple’s best two football eras came by hiring guys who were successful head coaches at other big-time programs, as witnessed by the BOT’s putting their money where their mouths were here to hire Pop Warner.

Every time Temple changes a head coach, and that’s far too many recently, we argue against a line of thinking in the AD’s office that Temple should take one step back for two steps forward.

That is, hiring a “promising coordinator” from a big-time program and essentially giving up one year so he learns on the job how to be a head coach and gives Temple a good back end of that contract to make up for the learning curve.

When Geoff Collins left, we argued that Temple was past all of that and the Owls could not survive this pattern of one bad year and a couple of good ones. Fortunately, it took Manny Diaz leaving after 18 days for Pat Kraft to adopt that strategy.

It worked in the sense that the Owls went sideways, not backward, in Rod Carey’s first season, unlike what they did in the inaugural seasons of Matt Rhule and Collins. While Collins went 6-6 in his first regular season, it represented a four-loss drop from the previous two with essentially the same talent.

Every new coach since Wayne Hardin left was either a failed head coach at the place before him (Jerry Berndt was 1-11 at Rice before coming to Temple) or a coordinator (Ron Dickerson, Clemson; Al Golden, Virginia; Steve Addazio, Florida; Rhule, Temple via New York Giants and Collins, Florida).

Screenshot 2020-04-19 at 11.46.30 AM

Bob Mizia (left) and Pete Righi with coach Wayne Hardin in 1975


Bobby Wallace doesn’t count because he was a Division II head coach and it could be argued jumping two divisions eliminates any game-day coaching advantages he might have had because the CEO aspect of a FBS job is so much different.


The only person who had a good first season was Addazio, and his inexperience as a head coach was somewhat ameliorated by his hiring key members of a staff coming off a national championship (Chuck Heater, Florida DC, and Scot Loeffler, Tim Tebow’s QB coach, among several).

Pop Warner had two regular winning seasons his first two years at Temple. So did Hardin. If Carey’s next regular season is a winning one, he will join that elite company.

Friday: Spring Football?

Monday: (4/27): Temple and The NFL Draft

Friday (5/1): 5 Best Next-Tier Wins

Monday (5/4): Suspending Campaigns

Friday (5/8): Virtual Press Conference

Monday (5/11): Recruiting Patterns

Friday (5/15): Smoking Out The Winners


Temple 2019: Upgrading The X’s and O’s

The great Bear Bryant once said: “It’s not about the X’s and O’s, it’s about the Jimmie’s and Joe’s.”

Given Byrant’s six national championships at Alabama, there is a lot of street cred behind that remark.

Still, when it comes to Temple’s football history, if you really look at it, it’s more about the X’s and O’s.


Mark Bright, a “legacy” recruit, became the MVP of the Garden State Bowl


Look at the 1979 team for instance. The above video is the coaches’ game film from the 28-17 Garden State Bowl win over California. (A big thanks to Zamani Feelings for unearthing this pure gold. I once had a copy of the national broadcast of this game but lost it.) In it, you will find a lot of guys who had only one other scholarship offer or none outplaying a lot of guys who were four stars for one of the PAC-10 powers of the day.

None other than Bill Belichick has said that game film illustrated a masterful coaching job by Wayne Hardin that day. “I looked at that a lot and I lot of things didn’t make sense at first, but then rewound it and said, ‘Geez, I knew what Wayne is trying to do there and now it makes sense.’ ”


Mark Bright was the son of Jim Bright, the starting fullback of the 1950 Owls’ team.

The MVP of the game, fullback Mark Bright, had no scholarship offers out of William Tennent High school in Warminster but Hardin took a flier on him because Mark’s dad, Jim Bright (the then principal at New Hope-Solebury High), was a starting fullback for the 1950 Owls. “At Temple, we take care of our own,” Hardin said the day he signed Mark.

Hardin broke down film as well as he made it mandatory viewing for other legendary coaches and he saw something in Bright’s game that he liked. Same for starting quarterback Brian Broomell, who was recruited out of Sterling High in South Jersey as a strong safety. Broomell was good enough to crack the starting lineup as a true freshman on defense, something that never happened in those days and Hardin, needing a quarterback, converted that athleticism to the offense the next year.


Other players on that team like linebackers Steve Conjar and Mike Curcio became the Jimmies and Joes under Hardin they probably weren’t before they got to Temple and it all added up to the best team in modern Temple history. Hopefully, with 2019 being the 40-year anniversary of that first bowl win they will be honored at halftime of a game this fall.

That’s where 2019 comes into play. There are a lot of Jimmies and Joes on the team along with the documented fact that Rod Carey is the first proven winning FBS-level head coach to come into the school since Hardin.  Geoff Collins really did not have that kind of knowledge nor did even the Sainted Matt Rhule or the devilish Steve Addazio. Carey is not Hardin, but if he’s even close it’s a significant upgrade in the X’s and O’s department.

Mix the knowledge of X’s and O’s that Carey has with the Jimmies and Joes who have been mostly the product of Matt Rhule’s hard recruiting and this could be a special season. For it to be the most special season of all, this is the minimum benchmark: 11 wins, including a bowl game, and at least a No. 17 or better ranking in both major polls.

The 1979 Temple team proved you needed both X’s and O’s and Jimmies and Joes and it should be fascinating to see if the 2019 team can use that same formula to produce similar results.

Tuesday: Tweet Storm

Thursday: Hinting at a New Offense

Saturday: Season Ticket Call


Playing Villanova: Coach Hardin Had The Right Idea


Temple appears to have the talent to put a hurting on Villanova

On or about the time Temple was flirting with the Top 10 in the 1979 season, a reporter once asked Wayne Hardin why the Owls were still playing teams like Delaware and Villanova.

“I believe in playing Delaware and Villanova and beating the crap out of them,” Hardin said.

It wasn’t very politically correct and probably didn’t play well with large groups of local fans, but it was his mantra and it was Temple-centric.

Usually, he did.


Hopefully, the shower part will be after 3 p.m.

It helped having a Mensa IQ of 159 that translated to outsmarting just about every coach he ever played, but having the talent advantage helped even more.

Hardin won seven of his last nine games against legendary Delaware coach Tubby Raymond—father of the first Phillie Phanatic—and beat Villanova, 42-10, that year on the Main Line.

I thought about coach Hardin when reading a large sentiment on social media of current Temple fans’ opinions on this series.

“We have nothing to gain and everything to lose by playing Villanova.”

“It’s a no-win situation.”

“If you win, meh, but, if you lose, it’s a disaster.”

Around and around that goes and where it stops defeatism knows.

Last year’s 16-13 game
was a complete disgrace
and hopefully put as bad
a taste in the players’
and coaches’ mouths as
it did with the Temple fans


Coach Hardin was right. Temple SHOULD be playing Villanova and Temple SHOULD be beating the crap out of them. First, even though Villanova has contributed only about 2-3,000 fans to the last three games (all over 30,000), the game does get Temple fans motivated to put down the remote and potato chips and get to a game in person. Temple should never be “scared” to play Villanova in football.

If you are scared get a dog.

Fortunately, head coach Geoff Collins—who is a little more politically correct than Hardin was—has the dogs of war to beat the crap out of this team.

Do you think Villanova basketball goes around worried about playing Temple?

No. Villanova basketball is, for all intents and purposes, a Power 5 team now playing Temple, a mid-major basketball name.

They just go out and beat the crap out of them.

The roles are reversed in football with Temple being the FBS school and Villanova a FCS school.

It is high time Temple football fans got the same level of satisfaction out of this meeting the Villanova basketball fans routinely get. They got that during Hardin’s years and during the two Daz years (42-7 and 41-10). Last year’s 16-13 game was a complete disgrace and hopefully put as bad a taste in the players’ and coaches’ mouths as it did with the fans.

Now it’s just a matter of restoring the normal order of things.

Friday: Seeing The Forest Through The Trees

Sunday: Game Analysis

New Uniforms?


These uniforms are probably the best ones featuring the Temple ‘][‘ on the helmet

In the grand scheme of things, uniforms rate somewhat behind coaching, talent, practice facilities, stadiums and fan bases in terms of importance.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t important at all because they are.

During one of the great Temple wins recently—an overtime win at UConn in 2012 that made the Owls 2-0 in a one-time BCS league—it was with great pride that I noted that the Owls did it wearing what I thought was their best uniform combination:

Cherry pants, white stripes, white jerseys, cherry helmets.slight

They played well and looked good.

It is against that backdrop that I cringed when I heard Temple was getting new uniforms by the end of this month.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

At Temple, it ain’t broke but fixing it could break it.

All over the NCAA, I see teams with awful-looking so-called “modern” uniforms—Maryland comes in the 2011 Temple game comes to mind here—getting their asses kicked by more traditional uniforms.

Temple’s uniforms have remained pretty much the same through the years.

When Al Golden got here, he eliminated the Temple ][ on the helmets for a very good reason because he felt the “football brand” at Temple when he played at Penn State represented toughness and that brand was having TEMPLE spelled out across the helmets.

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 31 Temple at Navy

That brand was created by Wayne Hardin in 1970.

“We want people to know who were are,” Hardin said. “We’re Temple. We’re spelling it on the helmets so they won’t forget who we are. There are plenty of schools that have T’s on the helmet but not many that spell the name.”

That brand continued until Jerry Berndt brought the T back because Penn, the Philadelphia team he formerly coached, had a P on it.

To me,  that wasn’t a very good reason.

Golden brought TEMPLE back on the helmet and that lasted until a bald-headed guy who shall remain nameless brought the T back. I’m OK with the ‘][‘ because it is the school brand but not OK with an entirely new look because it is supposed to be attractive to recruits.

Something tells me the new uniforms are going to be closer to a Maryland-type monstrosity—the Under Armour CEO is a Maryland grad—than a more traditional Temple look.

Whatever it is, if the word TEMPLE comes back on the helmet, that would be an acceptable step forward and a fitting tribute to the Hardin Era.

Monday: Spring Phenoms Old and New

Wednesday: The Scrimmage

Friday: 5 Things To Look For At Cherry and White

Cincy Throwbacks: Game With a Kick


Ironically, No. 17 gave Temple a 17-17 tie with Cincy.

If Friday’s game with Cincinnati comes down to a kick, no one will be surprised.

The Owls are 2.5-favorites and many of their past games against the Bearcats have involved a kick.


Last year’s 34-13 win gave the Owls a 12-7-1 lead in the series.

The Owls have a great kicker in Aaron Boumerhi, who already has the pressure of a game-winning OT kick under his belt this year against Villanova.

If past games with Cincinnati are a yardstick, it just might come down to the length of a leg.

Field goals have played a big role in the series, which Temple leads, 12-7-1.

Probably the most famous kick came in the series only tie, 17-17, on Oct. 29, 1977.
A year earlier, Temple coach Wayne Hardin eschewed an extra-point attempt by kicker Wes Sornisky in an attempt to beat Penn State on the final play of the game. The two-point conversion pass went off the hands of the Temple receiver and the Owls lost, 31-30.

“A tie is like kissing your sister,” Hardin said afterward. “I felt the kids came too far and deserved the chance to win.”

Facing a similar situation the next season at Nippert Stadium, Hardin went for the tie, a 33-yard field goal by Sornisky.

It was good and the teams walked off the field with a 17-17 tie. It was Cincinnati’s second 17-17 tie that year. The Bearcats tied Louisville in an earlier game.

Afterward, a famous photo of Sornisky, who ironically wore No. 17, was published with him whispering something in Hardin’s ear.

“I asked him if this was like kissing your sister,” Wes said.

Those were pretty strange days. Now nobody gets to play for three hours and come away with a result that is pretty much like not even having played the game at all.

It was probably like kissing your half-sister from Temple’s point of view because the Owls came from down 11 points in the fourth quarter to get in a position for a tie. That year, Cincinnati lost by two points to a Maryland team that finished No. 13 in the nation.

Sornisky was a great kicker for Hardin, who helped the Owls set what was then an NCAA record for consecutive extra points (106) that was snapped earlier that season.

Another kick that factored into a memorable Temple vs. Cincy game came in 1974.

The Owls had a nation’s best 14-game winning streak and Don Bitterlich, who still holds the school record for longest field goal (56). A Cincy field goal ended that long winning streak, 16-15.

Temple also won the 1978 game on a field goal, 16-13.

Missed field goals also factored into the 2003 game. That game, on a Saturday night at unbeaten 13-point favorite Cincinnati, featured missed field goals from 37 and 24 yards by the Owls’ kicker. Temple, with a 24-10 fourth quarter lead, threw a bomb on 2nd and 2. Incomplete, of course. The Owls also threw three passes when they had a first-and-goal on the Cincinnati 2.

INCOMPLETE, of course, and the missed kicks had everything to do with a 30-24 double-overtime loss.

Now if the Owls can just put Boumerhi in a position to win, they’ve got to feel good about their chances.

The last time they were 2.5-point favorites, though, they won, 34-10.

To me, that would be the result I would most get a kick out of now.
Tomorrow: Cincinnati Preview

The Gold Standard: Wayne Hardin


Steve Conjar talks to Wayne Hardin with my elbow and Mark Bresani’s back not being far away.

A few years ago, Eagles’ owner Jeffery Lurie stepped into some deep dog poop when he said his team was “the Gold Standard” of the NFL. “When I’m talking to other owners or other GMs in the league, we’re kind of the gold standard,” Lurie said on Aug. 8, 2003.


That was a year BEFORE an Eagles’ team he was owner of appeared in the Super Bowl.


Bill Belichick sent this note to coach Hardin with the game ball from Super Bowl 49.

Since the Eagles had not won the Super Bowl yet, that got some fans to thinking that there was some higher standard, like Platinum or Uranium.

The Eagles are claiming they are something they never were, or what the New England Patriots are right now.


That’s why it was fitting that the real gold standard of the NFL coaches, maybe forever (sorry, Vince Lombardi), took time out of his precious summer vacation on Friday to say a few nice words at The Union League about someone most of us knew and loved, Wayne Hardin. (Owls’ TV really needs to put that celebration of life on YouTube so that it can reach a much wider audience.)

As much as Bill Belichick is the Gold Standard of NFL head coaches, that what Temple was lucky enough to have in Wayne Hardin. Belichick studied Hardin closely as a kid, then more as an adult and took copious notes on how Hardin attacked opponents. When Belichick was an assistant coach with the New York Giants, he sat in the stands of the Garden State Bowl and marveled how Hardin attacked California in a 28-17 win.

Those who watch Belichick’s teams can see a lot of Hardin in Belichick and it is a beautiful living tribute to the greatest head coach in Temple history.

Hardin will forever be The Gold Standard as far as Temple head coaches are concerned. He was not only the most successful, but also the most loyal. Despite being the only coach to ever have Temple FINISH in the Top 20, he remained for 13 years.  Think about it: Two great schools, Navy and Temple, have only finished in the Top 20 under one head coach. Those were both schools that coaches have to overcome significant hardships to achieve. For Hardin at Navy, it was no scholarships and a five-year military commitment. For Hardin at Temple, it was moving from one level to another despite not having the facilities of the major Eastern powers he faced. There was also the issue of loyalty. How many future Temple coaches will turn down a higher paying job as a football coach in Texas to remain at Temple? Hardin did when Tom Landry offered him the offensive coordinator job with the Dallas Cowboys.

If Lurie wanted to see what a real Gold Standard was all about, living or passed, all he needed to do was venture out of his office and make his way a couple miles North up to the Union League on Friday.

Not surprisingly, Lurie–ironically from Boston–declined the educational experience. His loss, but he must be used to that four-letter word by now.

Wednesday: Beginner’s Luck

The True Legends


Three TU legends: Sheldon Morris, Willard Cooper and Anthony Gordon (Bruce’s players).

In a recent Sports Illustrated article, Geoff Collins gives a well-deserved shout-out to a true Temple football legend, administrative assistant Nadia Harvin.

Nadia’s office has pre-dated the E-O and she goes way back to Bruce Arians, even though she must’ve made a deal with the devil (like Dorian Gray) because she doesn’t look a day over 26. She survived coaching changes through Jerry Berndt, Ron Dickerson, Bobby Wallace, Al Golden and Matt Rhule.

That’s saying something since new coaches like to bring in their own people.


Her hubby, Allen, was


Steve Conjar (left), Wayne Hardin’s greatest linebacker

a great running back for the University of Cincinnati but we will forgive him for that because he’s been Temple all (or most) of the way since.

(I pointed out to Allen on Cherry and White Day that Temple holds a significant lead in the all-time series against Cincinnati and he said, “Not when I was there.”  I will have to look that up but I will take him at his word.)

Still, Collins would do well to sit down with Nadia and discuss the term legends from what I’ve been hearing from Temple guys who played back in the day.

Collins throws the term “legends” around like Frisbees, including recent guys like P.J. Walker, Haason Reddick, Tyler Matakevich but, to me, the “true” Temple legends are the guys (and girls, like Nadia) who have withstood the test of time like Steve Conjar and Paul Palmer.

When Matt Rhule took the head coaching job at Temple, I shot off an email congratulating him for getting the job.


More of coach Hardin’s guys, including Phil Prohaska and Mark Bresani (Cherry and White rear).

Matt immediately emailed back and asked for my phone number. What followed was a cordial 35-minute phone call, where he picked my brain for names of guys who played at Temple, specifically back when he played at Penn State. He wanted to welcome them back into the fold.

When I casually mentioned that former head coach Bruce Arians was still close to his players and that I had Bruce’s personal cell phone number, Matt asked me for it. Since one of the players was the guy who gave it to me, I told Matt that I had to ask his permission.

I did, player said yes, and Matt thanked the player and his teammates by saying that the program wanted to welcome them. Matt got the lowdown from Bruce, then Matt developed a tight relationship with coach Wayne Hardin where he got to know the players of that era.  Rhule went the extra mile, really few miles, to embrace those guys and make sure his players honored those who came before them.

There has been a slight difference, though, in the Collins’ approach and it definitely needs to be tweaked. While Collins did stop by at the Cherry and White tailgates of the older guys, I don’t get the vibe that he knows the older alums like he does the younger ones.

Neither do many of those guys.

While he knows all of the recent guys, he really has not reached out in the same way to some of the other guys.

“He acts,” one of them said to me, “like nothing happened at Temple football before Al Golden. This program did great things before Golden, like Heisman Trophy runnerups and finishing in the Top 20. With all due respect, none of the recent guys came close to that.”

That needs to change.

On a recent day devoted to high school coaches, Collins was introduced to a very special guy and was given his name.

“Coach, where do you coach?” Collins asked.

“Over at Haddon Heights in New Jersey,” the man said.

“It’s great seeing you. Thanks for coming.”

The man walked away, shaking his head.

That man, unbeknownst to Collins, was in my humble opinion the greatest player in Temple football history and a guy who should have won the 1986 Heisman Trophy.

His name was, and is, Paul Palmer. To me, that was a little like Nick Saban arriving at Alabama, meeting Joe Namath, and asking him which high school he coaches.

That introduction needs to be redone and guys like Conjar and Palmer deserve their place at the top of the Temple legend list and placed in front of a row of the more recent guys. These guys played at Temple through a lot of thick days remained loyal through a lot of thin ones afterward. For that, they deserve special thanks from the program, specifically its current CEO.

A phone call to Matt Rhule would set him on the proper path, as would a talk with Nadia.

Monday: Wandering Eye

Coach Hardin: A Life Well-Lived


Coach in this great Sheldon Morris photo taken Saturday.

Nothing is ever given in life on this earth, especially the knowledge of the time that you have here.

All of us know what day we arrived; none of us knows the future day we will depart. All we know is to do our best to live the best life we can.

No one lived a better life than Wayne Hardin, the legendary Temple coach who passed away Wednesday, a couple of days from attending Alumni Day at the Edberg-Olson Complex on Saturday. By all accounts, coach was in good spirits and gave a great speech about “filling the stands” for future Temple football games to the 120 or so alumni players in attendance.

On a personal note, I have known coach Hardin since I was 17 and covered his football teams for the Temple News and for the Doylestown Intelligencer later. He was the greatest college coach I have ever known (hell, the greatest coach, period) and this was something I was convinced of since my college days. Sadly, his death came two months after the greatest high school coach I ever knew,  Central Bucks West’s Mike Pettine Sr., passed away.

I had always been convinced of Hardin’s greatness, but it was nice to get affirmation from other writers, too.

During a game in which Hardin put a big-time scare into Penn State for only what seemed like the umpteenth time, John Kunda, the sports editor of the Allentown Morning Call and a Penn State beat writer, broke the silence in the press box.


How fitting was it that the last championship game coach saw was Navy vs. Temple?

“Hardin’s out-coaching Joe again,” Kunda said.

The press box erupted in knowing laughter.

Later, when Tubby Raymond schooled a young Bruce Arians in a Delaware upset win over Temple, Philadelphia Inquirer writer Chuck Newman similarly broke the silence in the Blue Hen stadium facility.

“Will Wayne Hardin please report to the press box?” Newman said  over the public address system.

More laughter because Hardin had beaten Raymond in eight of the 10 previous years.

I was overwhelmed with pride, knowing that my school was the smartest school on the field every Saturday afternoon that Wayne Hardin was on my sideline and, because this was college football, that meant a lot.

Maybe everything.

Hardin always out-coached Joe Paterno, the way General Robert E. Lee always outcoached Ulysses S. Grant. Paterno, like Grant, always won because what those guys had at their disposal was more than what Hardin and Lee had.

Still, it was fun watching Temple move those chess pieces around and checkmating the bad guys time and time again.

Bill Belichick followed Hardin around as a 7-year-old son of an assistant coach to Hardin, and then followed Hardin’s teams at Temple. He took copious notes and is admiration for Hardin is documented for posterity.

“I’d say Wayne influenced me more than anybody else,” said  Belichick in a recent article by CSNNE’s Phil Perry. “Honestly, I saw other coaches at Navy take a different approach, and looking back on it, even though I didn’t know it at the time, but I would say looking back on it, I would rather be like him. I’ve seen these others, but I would rather do it the way he did it.”

I was there in the press room underneath the stadium at Colgate the day Hardin quit. I asked him why and he said simply: “Mediocrity is not my cup of tea.”

He was a very young 55 at the time.

It was Hardin’s idea to take the goofy-looking Owl off the helmet and spell out TEMPLE on the side.

“We want people to know who we are,” Hardin said. “We’re Temple.”

That “TEMPLE” became the brand during the winningest TEMPLE years and, when Al Golden arrived, he changed the ‘][‘ back to TEMPLE because, as Golden said, “that’s the brand Temple football had when it was respected throughout the country.” Perhaps a fitting tribute to Hardin this fall would be to bring back TEMPLE at least on one side of the helmets.

People in sports like to talk about records that will never be broken, mentioning Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. Heck, I’m convinced no coach in Temple history will ever do what Hardin did, which is win 80 games in 13 years at the school. No coach might ever get Temple into the final Top 20 again because a Temple coach who gets the Owls on the brink will probably be gone by the bowl game. Hopefully not but that’s the reality of college football today.

Joe Morelli, a former Temple quarterback who never played for coach Hardin, made sure he drove coach to the games and that’s why we were all able to enjoy his company over the past few years.

“Joe takes good care of me,” coach said.

Last year, I asked coach if he still golfed at 90.

“Last time I did that was last week,” coach said. “I fell three times. I don’t do it any more.”

He asked me to walk him over to where his ex-players, led by Steve Conjar, moved their tailgate and I was more than happy to do that.

Look who I found!” I said to the guys.

“God bless you, Wayne,” Mark Bresani said. “I love that you come to the games. I’ll tell you what, when I’m 90, I will probably be here, too.”

About 20 years ago, Hardin finally introduced me to his wife, Jane, who stopped and grabbed me by the arm.

“We like you,” Jane said. “It’s not just because you have red hair like we did.”

She remembered my articles on the coach and said she appreciated all of the nice things I wrote.

I told her I meant every word and did.

Now coach and his beloved Jane are together but those of us who remain behind and knew him are grieving now. Perhaps the most important lesson he taught us was how to live a life well.

Monday: 5 Questions Kraft Needs to Answer

Mediocrity Is Not My Cup Of Tea


Coach Hardin during game at Temple Stadium.

The last time I saw Wayne Hardin in his official duty as Temple University head football coach we were both in a side interview room of the Andy Kerr Stadium in Hamilton, New York.

There was me, coach, and two other reporters, and it was there that he dropped his bombshell announcement that he was retiring from coaching at the all-too-young age of 55.

That came after a season-ending 24-17 loss to host Colgate, which gave the Owls a 4-6 record. It was only the third losing season for Hardin in his 13 years as head coach at Temple (he never had one in his five years at Navy), but this one stung a little bit more.

I was stunned, but it was a stunning afternoon.

“Why?” I said.

“Mediocrity is not my cup of tea,” he said.

I remembered that exchange late Thursday night after Temple’s 34-27 loss at Memphis because a 3-3 record is the definition of mediocrity.

I mentioned this quote to coach Hardin, who is now 90, two weeks ago when I caught up to him for a 45-minute talk prior to the SMU game. Since that Colgate day in 1982, I’ve spoken to him about 20 times, but the resignation day never came up.

Now, prior to SMU, it did.


There were some extenuating circumstances that day that made this loss more painful than some of the others. One, Colgate was then, as now, a 1-aa (FCS) team and Temple was then, as now, a FBS team. Two, and more importantly, Temple quarterback Tim Riordan completed a 31-yard pass in the corner of the end zone on the game’s last play. The Temple receiver—whose name escapes me—clearly caught the ball with both feet (you only need one) inbounds, but the home cooking got to the ref, who ruled it out. There was no replay in those days; otherwise Wayne might have been in a better post-game mood.


“The Monday after that game,” coach said two weeks ago, “the Colgate coach called me and asked if I was OK. He said, ‘You are not retiring because you lost to us?’ I said, no, I just thought it was time.”

Even though his sense of time came much earlier than other coaches who retire at ages considerably older than 55 years old. The conversation touched on a lot of topics but he told me not to quote him only on one subject and that was the proposed new stadium at Temple. He had an interesting take on it, and maybe someday he will be comfortable making it public.

Former Temple quarterback Joe Morelli accompanies coach Hardin to the games, even though Joe never played for him.

“Joe takes good care of me,” coach said.

I mentioned to Joe and coach how great it was that Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick, who never answers questions with more than one or two words, went into this long detailed answer about how Hardin’s coaching influenced his.

Hardin was thrilled many of his old Temple players get together before and after every game. “The fact that they have remained close all of these years is great,” he said. I then walked him over to where they were and he got to shake hands with many of them.

“God bless him,” former great Mark Bresani said. “In 30 years, if I’m still around, I will be here, too.”

That, and the fact that Temple won, 45-20, made it a very good day.


About as bad a series of play calls as you will ever see at TU

Ironically, while mediocrity was not Hardin’s cup of tea, it is the brand Temple is drinking now with a 3-3 record. Watching the Memphis game, I could not help but think that Hardin would have called a much better series after recovering a fumble on a kickoff at the 5. He would have probably pitched to Jahad Thomas because he always wanted to put the ball in the hands of his best player. If that did not work, he probably would have rolled P.J. Walker out a couple of times to give him a run/pass option on the goal line and create space for Temple receivers in the end zone.

There was a reason Temple had only three losing seasons in those 13 years and that reason was Wayne Hardin. Hopefully, he will keep coming to Temple games for as long as he is physically able to do so.


Hall of Fame story

Bill Belichick on coach Hardin

Lou Holtz on coach Hardin

Tuesday: 5 Reasons Why You Roll Phillip Out