|In an NFL town, Bruce Arians (talking to Hines Ward) would bring Super Bowl winning credibility to Temple.|
What Temple’s checklist should be:
- Proven WINNING head coach;
- Multiple WINNING seasons (not just one);
- Must have proven it at THIS level, not below;
- Knows Philadelphia and suburbs and;
- Immediately recognizable to area high school coaches;
- Working knowledge of Temple and its challenges;
- Would make a splash with Temple fans and alumni
A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to purchase a house.
Because I’m middle-aged, I knew it might very well be the last house I purchased and I knew I had to get this right because I would not get another chance.
I had my checklist ready.
I wanted to live in a nice neighborhood, get a single home at the end of a block, with a garage, be near public transportation and within walking distance of shopping options.
I went on ReMax and RealEstate.com, scoured the papers, and did my research.
After seeing about 10 houses, my realtor turned down the street and up the driveway of this one house.
“Wow,” I told her.
It was in my price range and I loved it.
“You like it?” she said.
We saw about 10 more houses, and a lot of them were great, but I kept going back to this one.
When the list came down to five and four and three, I kept comparing it to the one I liked the most and those other houses just did not compare.
I’m living in that house now.
I bring that story up because my search then is a lot like Temple’s football coaching search going on right now. Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw has to get this right because he might not get another chance.
There are a lot of names floating around, but there is only one guy I’m am totally 100 percent positive who can do this job at the level I want it done.
Why am I so sure?
He’s already done it.
Arians had two six-win seasons when Temple was playing the BYUs, the Georgias, the Florida States in addition to the Penn States, Pitts and West Virginia. That’s defending national champion BYU, by the way, which Arians played toe-to-toe and lost, 26-24, before 52,000 screaming Temple fans at Veterans Stadium.
Arians had a six-win season against the 10th-toughest schedule in the nation.
Arians chewed MAC winning teams and spit them out. He was 5-0 against MAC winning teams. Al Golden, on the other hand, was 0-14 against winning MAC teams.
Arians never had a $521 million stadium to play in, never had a $7 million facility to practice and never had a university with 12,000 kids living on campus (only about 1K lived there then) and the university infrastructure he has now.
When my younger friends mention that he did this 22 years ago, I reply that it’s easier to do it now than it was 22 years ago.
I mention that Temple’s two best hires were guys they hired in their 50s: John Chaney and Fran Dunphy.
Arians is a real person, like Chaney and Dunphy, not a snake-oil salesman.
A quarterback at Virginia Tech, Arians will develop quarterbacks at Temple and move the ball and score touchdowns. If Bill Bradshaw wants crowds of 5,000 at Temple home games next season, he will go ahead and hire a guy like Frank Cignetti, Paul Guenther, Dave Wannstedt, Randy Shannon, Matt Rhule, G.A. Mangus or Bob Davie. If you are going to think about guys like that, then ask permission to talk to Western Michigan’s Bill Cubit. He’s a Philly guy who’s beaten MAC teams regularly and has never lost to Temple.
Why not go for the best, though?
If he wants an attacking style of football and a name Owl fans can get behind, he will hire Bruce Arians. I knew Al Golden and I know this man and he’s a better coach and a better person than Al Golden can ever hope to be.
On defense, one of my favorite Arians’ stories happened at Rutgers.
With 1 minute, 46 seconds left and Temple holding a 35-30 lead, a quarterback named Scott Erney moved the Scarlet Knights down the field against a Temple prevent defense to the Owls’ 30. When Rutgers called its last timeout, Arians got in the face of defensive coordinator Nick Rapone and told him to do something.
Rapone called “jailbreak” which was the terminology for eight-man blitz.
The result was four straight Temple sacks and the game ending with an Owl lineman named Swift Burch landing on top of Erney at the 30 _ the Rutgers’ 30.
Afterward, Arians explained the change of heart.
“If I was going to go down, I was going to go down with my guns blazing,” he said, holding the game ball.
I’ve had several ex-Temple players tell me they walked in unannounced to Arians’ office at the Steelers’ practice facility and he has two things on it _ a calendar and an old Temple helmet.
Arians would bring blazing guns, a knowledge and love for and loyalty to all things Temple, and a buzz back to our fanbase.
If we can get him, and I think we can, that’s our guy.