Temple: Heartbreak Central

If the Temple Board of Trustees are men of their word, and there is no reason to doubt them, seven sports that were cut this past week won’t be coming back to Temple.

That’s a shame. It’s sad. It’s also not surprising.

Anyone who has been a season ticket-holder in football, like I have for the past 30 or so years, knows apathy follows Temple sports like a huge dark shadow. When I attended the basketball game against Charlotte at the LC earlier this year, the first thing I said when I sat in my seat was: “Where are all the fans?” That was during a weeknight when there were 12,500 students living on campus and only a couple hundred felt moved to walk two feet outside their dorms to the game. The “official” attendance was about 4,000 in a state-of-the-art 10,000-seat on-campus arena.

Click on the Holy Trinity of  Phils' Oldheads for a comparison between Ruben Amaro's approach and Temple football.

Click on the Holy Trinity of Phils’ Oldheads for a comparison between Ruben Amaro’s approach and Temple football.

In football,  Wayne Hardin might have said it best when someone asked him if Temple would ever fill Veterans Stadium.

“For us to do that, we have to have 10 straight winning seasons,” said Hardin, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday night.

The best he could do was four. I hope Matt Rhule rips off 10 straight winning seasons starting in less than a year so we can finally test coach Hardin’s theory.

I will say this: Gavin White Sr. and Gavin White Jr. have brought the university a significant amount of glory and I was rather shocked that men’s crew was part of the cuts. When I lived in Center City, I always made it to the Dad Vail Regatta and it was great to hear the roar of the crowd when the Temple Varsity Eight crossed the finish line first, which was many, many times. I played pick-up basketball with Gavin and Gavin Jr. when they lived in Northeast Philadelphia on the OLC courts and they were both quite good back in the day.

One year, there was a crowd estimated at 35,000 on the banks of the Schuylkill cheering the Owls on to victory. Other years,  the team was invited to the prestigious Henley Regatta and got the university some significant and positive publicity by beating up a group of Skinheads in Downtown London. People say John Chaney invented the term Temple tough (since becoming Temple TUFF), but that trip to Henley came around the start of Chaney’s Temple career and gave Temple athletes a reputation for toughness.

Temple baseball had a great coach in Skip Wilson and he took the team to the College World Series twice in the 1970s. Temple  and St. John’s were the premier college baseball programs on the East Coast for much of that decade, but the 1970s was a long time ago and there was no ESPN to televise the CWS then.

All in all, the announcement of Olympic sports cuts was the capper to a pretty heartbreaking year for Temple sports, from a chance to upset No. 1 Indiana in basketball slipping away to the Hail Mary heartbreakers the team experienced in football. I’ve got to wonder if any college football team has ever lost in the fashions below.

Just once, I’d love to see Temple win on a Hail Mary pass. Maybe at Penn State. Our luck would be the Big 10 refs would call it back for a phantom hold.

I don’t think any group of fans and players ever had to go through this much heartbreak:


12 thoughts on “Temple: Heartbreak Central

  1. Said the same thing to friends last week that despite having a large campus population and thousands upon thousands of alumni living within fifty miles of the campus and the Linc, attendance at all sporting events is atrocious. Take the Texas TU game Saturday. Only six thousand fans showed up for what turned out to be a very exciting game. Don’t even mention women’s sports. Temple St. Joe’s last week drew less than 500 fans( half of which were St. Joe’s fans) even though admission was free for those with tickets to the men’s game. If it weren’t for the die-hards, attendance would be even less than it is. The only time football gets close to a sell-out is if the opponent’s fans fill the stadium. Rutgers last year is a perfect example. On what can only be described as a perfect fall day, the Rutgers’ fans outnumbered the Temple fans. Is it because the game was on TV and the fans are too lazy to go to the game or is it apathy? If its the latter, might as well fold up all sports because that’s not going to change.
    Could it also be that TU fans are tired of having their hopes and expectations dashed time after time in such soul-crushing fashion as exemplified by the above videos. I know I am. Take the Texas TU game Saturday. They lost because a kid commits a lane violation and they hit a 27 foot three. It was just as devastating as the hail marys above. Nevertheless, like Sysiphus, us Temple fans just have to keep rolling that rock up the hill hoping that it will get over it one day.

  2. Good comparison, John. At least the football tailgating is still good, although the Fordham loss was as angry as I’ve seen Temple alums in my life. If you are paid to be a Temple football coach, you are paid to beat the teams you are supposed to beat and certainly a team Lafayette beat. Epic fail that will never be forgotten. Most poorly prepared Temple team for an opponent I’ve ever seen, although I did not see the Idaho game in person and that’s probably a flat-footed tie.

  3. I rowed for gav…..what an awful, awful day for Temple athletics. People didn’t believe me when i told them there were 10’s of thousands of fans cheering us on to victory in the vails. it hurts being a temple football fan too. its hard to find reason to cheer them on anymore.

  4. Thanks for the tribute to gav and the crew team.

  5. I really enjoyed the Dad Vails and how friendly all the Temple people were. It seems the Varsity 8 stopped winning when that building started falling apart. Walked into the new St. Joe’s building a few years ago and thought why couldn’t a school 10x bigger have something like this? St. Joe’s found a way around city government, Temple should have, too.

  6. Doesn’t the fact that St. Joe’s is a private university have a lot to do with that?

  7. Bernard Pierce was a juvenile delinquent as well. How did that work out?Don’t kids deserve a second chance? Your comment has nothing to do with the team and is irrelevant. Besides, it’s likely that the schools mentioned showed interest before the kid got in trouble.

    • I don’t remember Bernard Pierce sticking a sawed off shot gun in someones face in a robbery or stealing cars or threatening to kill a teacher. How many chances is that already. If this is what you believe is going to enrich Temple U. then you need your head examined.

  8. I think we are way overbooked at QB anyway. I know two guys coming in who can play the position at a high level in Frank Nutile and Lenny Williams. Usually, AG liked to sign only one player per position each year. I think that’s a smart recruiting approach.

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