The next Temple coach: A proven winner

What Bradshaw should be looking for:
1) Proven WINNING head coach;
2) Multiple WINNING seasons (not just one);
3) Must have proven it at THIS level, not below;
4) Knows Philadelphia and suburbs and;
5) Immediately recognizable to area high school coaches;
6) Working knowledge of Temple and its challenges;
7) Would make a splash with Temple fans and alumni

When Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw is not lamenting the fact that he’s shorter than 6-feet-tall, he tells some pretty good stories.
Ask him sometimes about the tosses that LaSalle University starting baseball shortstop Fran Dunphy would make to starting second baseman Bill Bradshaw back in the day.
Pretty funny stuff.
I’m partial to one Bill Bradshaw story, though.
It talks about his first meeting with future Temple football coach Al Golden.
Bradshaw got back in the car for the long drive to Philadelphia, sat down in the passenger seat and scribbled a few words at the bottom of his notepad.
This is our guy.
So he was.
No one knows what was at the top of that notepad, but I assume it was a series of qualifications Bradshaw was looking for in the next Temple head coach.
Finding a guy who can do the job here is both tough and easy.
Tough because there are so few of them.
Easy because you can narrow the list of special people down to three or four and target those.
All you have to do is look at history.
There are three Temple coaches who have done anything worth a damn here in my lifetime and Bradshaw would be wise to look for similar qualities in the next Temple coach as the following three:

Joe and Wayne

Wayne Hardin _ Was 80-52-3 at Temple. No one ran a more innovative offense. No one was smarter. No one made Temple look better on game day than Hardin did. Hardin is a genuis and he toyed with the overmatched mind of the coach on the other side. Allentown Morning Call columnist John Kunda said it best when an undermanned Temple team was beating a vastly more talented Penn State team in State College. “Hardin’s outcoaching Joe again.” The entire press box roared laughing because they knew it was true. Hardin’s teams were always better-prepared than the teams they were facing. When Hardin had nine days to prepare for his team’s most important game, you would never see Temple line up in an illegal formation on the first play of the game (I wonder how that’s going to go over at The U this fall?). When Hardin came to Temple he was already a proven winner on this level as a head coach (he was head coach at Navy when it was No. 2 in the nation) and had a knack for developing quarterbacks (Roger Stabauch and Bob Broadhead) and knew the Philadelphia area (he was head coach of the Continental League champion Philadelphia Bulldogs). When he got to Temple, the Owls were disciplined and some of his quarterbacks were Doug Shobert, Steve Joachim, Marty  Ginestra, Terry Gregory, Frank DiMaggio and Brian Broomell. Al Golden only had one quarterback of similar ilk: Adam DiMichele.

Bruce Arians

 Bruce Arians _ Led Temple to two winning seasons against top 20 schedules. One of his teams was 6-5 against the 10th-toughest schedule in the nation. (By comparison, Golden was 8-4 this year against the 112th-toughest schedule in the country.) Under Arians, the Owls beat West Virginia twice and Pitt in three of five seasons. Arians, from York, also knew the area and was a great recruiter. A former quarterback at Virginia Tech, Arians developed Tim Riordan, Lee Saltz and Matty Baker and a guy named Ben Rothlisberger. Knows Temple inside and out. Gets Temple. Loves Temple.  If you think Golden was a good recruiter, you should have seen the talent Arians brought to North Broad Street. On the day Arians was mistakenly  fired at Temple, quarterback Glenn Foley and defensive lineman Alonzo Spellman de-committed from the Owls and signed with Boston College and Ohio State. That’s recruiting.

Al Golden

Al Golden _ Succeeded here because he knew the  recruiting footprint and was a tireless worker. Never developed quarterbacks like Hardin or Arians, but his emphasis on defense more than made up for it. Great recruiter, but failed to identify talent at the quarterback level post-Adam DiMichele and that cost him a bowl game and possible double-digit back-to-back winning seasons.

There are also three Temple coaches who failed to achieve sustained success here and Bradshaw would be wise to avoid this type:

Jerry Berndt _ Was 0-11 as a head coach at Rice before coming to Temple. A huge red flag that Temple ignored at its own peril. Could coach Arians’ talent to a 7-4 record, but could not recruit at this level afterward. What should Temple learn from this: Don’t hire a head coach who hasn’t posted multiple (that’s more than one) winning seasons at THIS level (i.e., avoid Ron Vanderlinden like the plague, who hasn’t even had one winning season at this level).
Ron Dickerson _ Was hailed as the “greatest defensive coordinator in America” by Penn State coach Joe Paterno before Temple hired him. On game day, he looked lost out there. Hey, Paterno never said he could be a head coach. What should Temple learn from this: Avoid coordinators who have not proven they can win as a head coach with this next hire because Temple can’t afford to get this wrong.
Bobby Wallace _ Posted multiple winning seasons at the Division II level, but had no recruiting footprint in the northeast and had no passion to live here and did not connect with the high school coaches here. A bad hiring on so many levels, you can write a book about it. What Temple should have learned from this: No more lower-level head coaches, please.
So who is our guy?
The list of people who “can do this” becomes very small, but manageable:

Bill Cubit, Philly through and through

 1) Arians The guy performed at a higher level than Golden with 1/10th, maybe 1/100th of Golden’s facilities. You can talk him into leaving the Steelers now. He’s got a head coaching, not an assistant’s, mentality. Age? Look what Dunphy’s done and Dunph is older. There are 49 Division IA (FBS) championship coaches older than the 58-year-old Arians now and most of those guys are doing good jobs.
2) Bill Cubit, Western Michigan He’s a Philly guy, knows the area, and comes in with a proven track record as a winning head coach with, say, 1/2 of Temple’s current talent. He, unlike Golden, knows how to beat Big 10 teams. At Western Michigan, he’s beaten Purdue, Iowa, Minnesota and Indiana. You can convince him into coming home because he would automatically triple his current salary by getting the Temple job. On the day he beat Temple at Lincoln Financial Field, Cubit walked over to Citizens’ Bank Park afterward and watched his beloved Phillies clinch the NL East.
3) A unnamed head coach in D1A/FBS (not D1AA/FCS) who was or is a proven winner AT THAT LEVEL and knows Philadelphia and the suburbs and would be welcomed with open arms. Who is that guy? Well, it’s definitely not Ron Vanderlinden and it’s definitely not Andy Talley or K.C. Keeler (the FBS part) and it’s definitely not Mike Leach or any coordinator in college football today. They all meet some criteria, but not all.
Is that third guy out there?
I don’t know. I don’t think so.
So there’s your list.
I told you it takes a special person to do this job right.
So go get him.
These kids deserve nothing less.


6 thoughts on “The next Temple coach: A proven winner

  1. Great insight Mike. As someone who's seen all of our previous listed coaches in action, I totally agree with your assessment. I hope Mark D'Onofrio takes the job, just for continuity sake, and the fact that the players love him. If not, I'd love to see Bruce Arians back. I can only imaging how great his teams would have been if they didn't play such killer schedules. I remember playing Syracuse at Franklin Field. Lee Saltz in to punt from his own end zone and instead throws a huge bomb. He was a great coach that no one really appreciated.

  2. Unless Arians is tired of the Pro game I would take Cubit in a heart beat!

  3. Maybe it's because I was 3 when Bruce Arians last coached Temple, but I don't see it. How much weight adjustment are we awarding schedule difficulty? Temple's decline starting almost immediately after several years of mediocre records seems to tell a story of a long, internal decay and not the sudden departure of a genius. I tried to educate myself on him; but a quick google brings up nothing but steelers forums calling for his head for the last three years. I feel like I have to be missing something for everyone to be on board about it.Cubit seems pretty attractive as a candidate, and the Philly connection is an added bonus. Not a serious suggestion at all, but I do think its kind of amusing that Monica (the def. coordinator under Wallace) went down to DII Kutztown and essentially turned it from a non-entity to a #1 region seed in the playoffs in the same time as Golden did Temple. It's amazing what a difference a tier can make. I'd really rather prefer someone at Temple's current level then even an FBS coach.

  4. On the day Arians was mistakenly fired at Temple, quarterback Glenn Foley and defensive lineman Alonzo Spellman de-committed from the Owls and signed with Boston College and Ohio State. That's recruiting.Is that right?? Never knew that… as someone who has also seen every coach on your list… and remember going to games at the Vet as a teenager to watch Arians teams… why I don't think he will come back, like the idea of Cubit, did not know he had beaten a number of Big 10 teams… that says something!

  5. Absolutely right. Inky followed up Arians' firing with a next-day story about the recruits and mentioned that Temple "only lost" three verbals, two were Spellman and Foley from South Jersey and they mentioned the reason was that they signed at Temple to play for coach Arians, not anyone else. I put quotes around the "only" part because both became NFL players.

  6. Many more than 5K at the games now.We drew 23K for homecoming against Bowling Green, 16K in the rain against Ohio (a ridiculously bad weather night and a Tuesday to boot), 32K for Villanova (30K Temple fans), 18K for UConn.If you want to see what 5K looks like, go to a game next year if Temple hires a no-name assistant.Hire Arians and the buzz would be great.Hire a Mike Leach and the buzz would be more, but Temple is too PC to do that and I'm not sold that ML would do a better job AT TEMPLE than BA.

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