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.
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.
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.