TU football should strive for what TU hoops, soccer have done

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This is the 1953 Temple men’s soccer team which finished unbeaten and untied and No. 1 in the nation. The untied part is pretty amazing when you consider that 0-0 is the most common score in that sport and there was no overtime back then.

Imagine, if you will, Matt Rhule going through his next six seasons at Temple like this:

Winning four league championships, making bowl games six straight years and winning two of them. Then, in an informal poll of other FBS coaches, Rhule is named the most underrated coach in the country.

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Ryan Alderman up for Wueffel Award. Could not happen to a nicer guy. Hope he wins it. Click on photo for details.

Would you sign for that, without the hope of any higher ceiling?

Give me the papers right now. I’ve got the pen ready.

Well, the Temple men’s basketball season opens today and that’s just what Fran Dunphy has done. I’ve never understood the criticism of Fran because he’s done for basketball what I’ve always wanted for football. Substitute NCAA appearances for bowl games and there you have it. He was also named the most underrated coach in the country in a poll of his peers last year.

Temple fans freezing their arses off in the parking lot at JFK.

Temple fans freezing their arses off in the parking lot at JFK.

After a first year of adjusting to Temple from a Hall of Fame career as a Penn head coach, Dunphy won three straight post-season tournament A-10 playoff titles and followed that up with a regular-season A10 League championship the next.

Let’s hope these crater-sized potholes in the road for Matt Rhule this year are part of the adjustment process.

Fran Dunphy is 2-4 in NCAA tournament games with the Owls, but would you consider a 2-4 bowl record by Rhule a success? I know I would because, in football like basketball, getting there is the hardest part.

Now consider what coach Dave MacWilliams has done with this current edition of the men’s soccer team. Picked to finish last in the American Athletic Conference, the Owls finished first during the regular season. Anything after this is gravy. If Rhule does the same thing with the football team, which no doubt will be picked to finish last or near-last next year, he will be doing the same kind of job MacWilliams has done this season.

MacWilliams and Dunphy are two coaches Temple fans do not have to make excuses for and two standards of excellence that Temple should strive for in any sport.

It’s not much to ask for football, either.

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30 thoughts on “TU football should strive for what TU hoops, soccer have done

  1. Mike, right on w/ the Old dominion -Idaho score. Just exemplifies that the coaches are currently inept. Old Dominion scores 59 on Idaho. No one can tell me that they have better athletes than the Owls. The administration better realize that they need a professional as head coach and not a coach in training before all the hard work Golden did is gone.

    • And Bucknell holds Fordham to 23 points. Nobody can tell me anybody who starts for Bucknell’s defense could make the two-deep at Temple. These kids have been cheated this year and the uni has been robbed. Every single one of the Board of Trustees’ members should be furious with the performance of this coaching staff this season. Furious.

      • Mike, come on don’t you read the scout.com board, Fordham is “shockingly” good, after all they have 3 transfers from BCS schools. Couldn’t agree with you more and I do hope the BOT is a lot less satisfied than what seems to be a Rhule cult over on that board. The excuses and rationalizations some folks are making for his performance are really to be unbelievable.

  2. Couldn’t agree more, would Temple lose that game if played today, probably not but as you say this is what you get when you coach is getting on the job training, I mean this season has basically turned into a 12 week spring practice, not only for the younger players but for the head coach and OC as well. I’ll leave the DC out of that I I think Phil Snow is speeding along the downhill side of his career and what you see is what you get. I know some people are saying the team is getting better every week, humm first 4 games defense gave up 26.5 ppg, last 5 games 32.8 ppg. Depending on how much UCF scores Snow will most likely have a defense that is worst in all categories over last year.
    As I said in an earlier post, my expectations for Matt Rhule and Temple next season is nothing less than Curtis Johnson is having at Tulane. In the 3 seasons prior to his taking the HC job there in 2012 the team won 9 games, he was 2-10 his first year and now 6-4 with Tulane bowl eligible for the first time in 11 years. Anything less by Rhule and it should be his last season as HC.

  3. That’s why I was so adamant that Temple needed to hire a head coach because I knew once they settled on Rhule (and settled is the perfect word), they were stuck with him for four years. There doesn’t seem to have been a backup plan if he fell flat on his face and 1-8 with losses to Fordham and Idaho is about as flat a face as I’ve ever seen. We would not have been able to get MacIntyre, but certainly could have had Clawson and, if not Clawson, Lembo. I hope a miracle happens and Rhule turns into Al Golden, but I really think he’s got a lot of Ron Dickerson qualities: nice guy, who doesn’t know that 4th and inches with a great center and a great quarterback screams for (duh), a quarterback sneak. That’s one of about 100 similar decisions from the ND game on …

    • Mike, is it “settling” on Rhule or more of a case that Temple can’t or won’t pay for a top coach. I don’t even think it’s hiring an assistant coach over a proven HC. While I too feel the same as you and others that I would have rather Temple gone the HC route, you can find an equal number of successes with assistants moving up.
      I’m really getting concerned with Temple’s either inability or lack of desire to get in an “arms” race. I’ve read that the $$$ received by being part of the AAC are a good bit better than from the MAC, but is it enough to be spending the amount needed to be a top team at this level. That was the flip side of the MAC, low payout coming in but lower costs and less pressure on attendance. At this point is Rhule really an issue or merely the most obvious symptom of a bigger problem for the future of Temple football being competitive?

      • IMO, all teams are going to have a harder and harder time competing against the top 5 conferences soon. Have you seen Oregon or Alabama’s facilities? That is what all the top 5 conference schools are going to have with the kind of money their athletic departments will be getting from billion dollar conference TV contracts. I really think that it is time for a new division in college football because in the coming years it is going to get even worse for the teams not in those conferences.

  4. The money was not the issue. I believe that Lembo and Clawson are making less than Ruhle. Ruhle is a great salesman who wowed them during the interview. Watch his acceptance speech and you’ll see what I mean. He also sent a message that if he was successful, he wasn’t going to leave like the other candidates. It would have been a good hire had he put someone with head coaching experience on his staff to act as a mentor. It also would have worked had he not hired Phil Snow to repay some kind of favor. Had he objectively looked at Snow’s recent history, he would have seen that Snow was no longer capable of running a defense able to counter today’s read-option offenses. Hell, he’s not capable of calling a Hail Mary defense. Temple was outclassed in two games this year, Louisville and Notre Dame, the latter opponent not so much. Had they not scored three times inn the first four minutes (Phil Snow again) that would have been a closer game. With any luck, the administration sees what the problem is and forces Ruhle to fire Snow and hire a competent coordinator.

    • John, didn’t know that with regards to Clawson and Lembo. Having done enough hiring in my career there is something to be said for a candidate being a good salesman and interviewing well. Great point about having a coordinator(s) with HC experience to act as a mentor. You are spot on with regards to Snow, I’ve really analyzed his defensive numbers since 2001 when he was at UCLA and it’s been pretty much a steady downward trend. For all those people preaching recruiting and patience is the cure all, I say look at the numbers. In the 7 years Snow was a DC from 2001, his defenses performed worse than the year before 5 out of 7 years. 6 out of 7 years his defenses were either the worst in the conference or in the bottom half. Based on that performance there is a 71% chance that Temple’s defense actually gives up more points next year than this year. What I really don’t get is how some people try to find every excuse in the book for Snow this season. It’s not like changing head coaches in that there is a lot more movement with coordinators, so firing one after a year isn’t all that unusual.

      • By the way, Snow’s former boss at EMich. was fired Friday. He had 11 wins in five years, three of which had Phil Snow as d-back and coach and defensive coordinator.

      • There is something to be said for a good salesman in an interview but unlike most job applicants, we know a lot more about a coach’s actual performance and experience.

    • Great salesman=flash + no substance=1-8. Accomplished head coach=enough flash+substance=success.

  5. If its true that Temple is forking over more than a million PY for the HCing job, there are probably plenty of solid candidates that would jump at that. Heck, Urban Myer came out of Bowling Green. Hiring someone just because they probably won’t jump ship is not a good reason. Part of the ADs job is to replace coaches, so why not get a good one even if for only a couple/few years even if you have to move on. This season could have been a lot different, even a bowl eligible season. Sticking with Snow is crazy at this point. He’s proven he can’t develop a pass defense, which is what directly cost the Owls several wins, including the very last game too! We have Rhule and things are improving under Rhule except his realizing that a change is needed at the DC position. If he sticks to Snow for next season Rhule should be let go, if for no other reason than for incompetence in developing a sound coaching staff. Remember, years ago Frank Beamer, after sub-par seasons, made a clean sweep at Virginia Tech and look at the results since. That’s part of what a HC is paid for.

  6. Hiring someone just because they probably won’t jump ship is not a good reason. Part of the ADs job is to replace coaches, so why not get a good one even if for only a couple/few years even if you have to move on

    ^^^^THIS^^^outstanding comment^^^^
    Temple should have abandoned the “Temple Model” (hiring assistants) and adopted the “Cincinnati Model” (hiring proven winning head coaches on the rise, not recycled guys like Franchione and Coker). Who freaking cares if they are going to be here 2-3-4 years at a pop? Give me a guy who wins every year rather than give me someone I’m stuck with at 2-10, 3-9 and 4-8. Four and eight and 5-7 isn’t significantly better than 1-11 in college football. If you don’t make bowl games consistently, you are nothing. Right now, we’re nothing with little hope of a viable future. Lembo changes the whole dynamic around here.

  7. Mike, I think there are several problems with the ‘Temple Model’ of hiring and involve not only the type of coach they hire but when and for how long the lack of success is tolerated. Just looking around the AAC you have the hire the experienced HC approach with Cincinnati, as you have mentioned, UCF and USF. Of the 3 USF is struggling again this year with Willie Taggart who was successful at WKU, but the do have one more win than Temple. On the other side you have Houston, Rutgers and Louisville with assistants who have moved up to HC. This is where the when you hire seems to be key. For both Tony Levine and Kyle Flood, they were already on the staff of their respective schools which had established, successful programs when they took over. SO to me the opportune time to have hired someone from AGs staff would have been for the 2011 season where they would have inherited a strong team and had that year to learn to be a HC. Hiring an assistant for a program after a down year does not seem a way to success in the majority of cases, as evidenced by the performance of Temple and Memphis. Now of course those who blindly support Rhule love to point to Charlie Strong at Louisville. Well Louisville won 15 games in he 3 years before Strong took over and I don;t think he had the same level of familiarity as Rhule’s supporters liked to tout as a key strength he brought to the job here. Even so, Strong was able to take a 4-8 team in 2009 to 7-6 his first year. The last point is, anything less than 6 wins next year should be considered a failure, with Temple it seems you need to go 3 or 4 years of not being bowl eligible, which in this day and age means you are nothing more than average, before a change in coaching is even considered.

  8. Louisville has a lot more money than TU to spend on sports. Papa John’s gives them a boatload of money. If I were in charge of TU sports I’d cozy up to Comcast and give them naming rights to a new stadium. I don’t know the dollars comcast offered for AAC games. Nevertheless, Temple should have pushed for an affiliation with Comcast which can put their games on TVs all over the country.

  9. After giving Fran complements, he’s goes out and loses to Kent State tonight. We are becoming universal losers.

    • Difference between Fran and Rhule is that Kent State actually has pretty good top-to-bottom basketball talent. Kent State will win the MAC this year and make an NCAA tournament. Except for a RB and QB, Fordham doesn’t and Idaho has no talent. You’ve got to be a pretty accomplished loser to coach a team beaten by Idaho.

  10. Fran Dunphy’s problem for this year and years past is that he can’t recruit a shutdown defensive player capable of stopping a small quick guard. Any team having such a player dominates us. St. Joe’s Massachusettes, Kent State last night, etc. have figured this out and have exploited it. Can’t tell me that Dunphy can’t find someone to fill that role.

  11. Especially in Philly, a hotbed of small, quick guards.

    • This is what drives me crazy about Temple putting so much money behind football and not basketball. Kids from the area should be falling all over themselves to play for a basketball team with the history and coaching Temple has. Temple basketball games should be the hardest ticket to get in the city (with the exception of the Eagles I suppose). Even students should have to camp out to get into the games. Imagine the profile of Temple athletics if all that money spent on football had been spent on basketball.

      Mike I know you are more of a football fan but I really believe this would have helped football just as much as basketball. We are so close to being an elite basketball team and with addition of one or two more blue chip players and we would be a final four team. People would look at Temple as a legit athletic school. Let me tell you outside of the region most people honestly don’t know ANYTHING about Temple. The first question people asked me when I told them I was going to Temple is “isn’t that a historically black college?” Granted this was primarily in Florida but it goes to show that at this time Temple’s national profile is very low, and rather than gambling on a sport that we all want to succeed but has only sporadically had any success the AD should have put their money on the sure thing. Temple is the sixth most winning basketball program of all time. We should be mentioned in the same breath as Duke, Syracuse, UNC, Kentucky, and UCLA but people don’t realize how good we are because the leadership hasn’t been let it known.

      And we wonder why we can’t lock down the best players in the area let alone in the country?

  12. It’s a fallacy that money can be diverted from football to basketball. If the football money ($3 million from TV alone) is going anywhere, it’s going to be re-invested into football. The basketball money (from TV and LC receipts) is going to be re-invested into basketball. Never the twain, Mark or otherwise, shall meet. One of the reasons Temple football got into trouble (i.e., kicked out of the BE) because Pete invested the football money into the general uni fund. The only money problem Temple runs into is that it’s locked into long-term contracts and can’t fire an underperforming head coach or a mistake the prior AD made because the new AD’s hands are tied with having to pay the fired guy and the new head coach at the same time. So it’s the fans who have to suffer through 1-11, 2-10, 3-9 and 4-8 before the uni can rid the first mistake from the payroll.

  13. If UConn (which regularly sells out women’s basketball) loses money, I think we do, too. Don’t think Temple football or basketball is funding anything. However, I do think WITH A WINNING PROGRAM and a competent head coach (worth paying, IMHO), TU football can be successful, drawing crowds in excess of 35K in this league. Losing, nobody makes any money so there’s nothing to re-invest in …

    http://blogs.democratandchronicle.com/watchdog/?p=2249

    • I understand that few schools actually make money with their athletics but why would there be so many advertising dollars available for football but not basketball? Maybe they have to present a budget to the state but it could just as easily say advertising for basketball as it could football.

  14. Lew Katz was able to get Temple football (and hoops) the advertising in the Inquirer since he owns the paper. That’s really the place where you saw the big push. As far as the TV, I think Temple’s “Football Saturdays in Philly” Campaign is a trade off (Comcast ads in Inky for TU ads on TV). Whole campaign costs Temple very little, if anything. Really, probably less than years before Katz, who heads the BOT Committee on athletics, purchased the Inquirer with two other guys (Norcross and Lenfest). Wish we could buy out MR contract with an Inky ad deal. Sarcasm intended.

    • Maybe the last 2 home games will finally convince the BOT that there needs to be coaching changes if Temple is serious about football. UCF should put up enough points Saturday to give Phil Snow’s steadily regressing defense worse numbers in all defensive stats over last year’s defense. That along with what I think will be abysmal attendance for a 1-9 team against UConn next week with that ridiculous 7 P.M. start time will really cap off an awful string of home games. Hopefully I’m wrong but I think the UConn attendance could below enough to look bad in a 30k seat on campus stadium.

  15. Ideal time for a Temple game would be the 3:30 slot. 7 p.m. on a Saturday night could get ugly. We have a lot of fair-weather fans, both with regard to the record AND the weather. Hopefully, it will be in the 60s, but history has shown the temps will probably drop into the 20s. UConn remembers the time Temple danced on its field last year and will be playing like crazed lunatics to avoid an 0-12 legacy. A team that eschews a QB sneak on 4th and 3 inches just plays like regular lunatics.

    • Damn, too bad the UCF game isn’t at 7. I would give us a 15% chance at an upset if the temps dropped low enough. Too bad it will likely be in the 50s on Saturday. I don’t think people understand quite how averse most Floridians are to cold weather. It drops into the 50s and people freakout. Of course, 50s while playing football probably won’t be a problem.

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