There have been two visceral reactions to my learning of the departure of the last two Temple head football coaches and both occurred while listening to the radio and driving in my car.
The first came when Steve Addazio left and Harry Donahue broke in with the news on the 5:45 p.m. sportscast at KYW with these words: “There has been a coaching change at Temple … “ That perked me up a little because there is never a coaching change at Temple. I thought it might be Tonya Cardoza or some other minor sports coach moving on but instead Harry followed that slight pause with “Steve Addazio is headed to Boston College.”
As I made the left turn on Susquehanna Road near the Rydal train station, reaction was pure joy, pounding on the steering wheel and yelling, “Yes, yes, yes!!!” That also had something to do with Temple never firing head coaches and I felt that Addazio would have to have many 4-7 seasons, not just the one he was coming off of, to be let go at Temple.
I did not want to live through that misery again, and Addazio’s future at Temple had a Ron Dickerson, Jerry Berndt and Bobby Wallace type quality written all over it.
On Tuesday, though, turning into the parking lot at work, the guy on one of the sports talk radio stations said at 11:40 this morning: “This just in: Philly.com is reporting that Matt Rhule is leaving for Baylor.” The reaction had nothing to do with joy or sorrow and was just a knowing sigh.
I knew this was going to happen last year with the Missouri dalliance when Rhule said he will always listen. I knew it was going to happen when he told a reporter who goes by the name “New Jersey Mike” in June that he cannot make promises, ostensibly to stay at Temple, and I really came to grips with it on Saturday when he told a press conference this telegraphed sentence: “It was a pleasure to have coached these kids.”
Notice the “have coached” part of that statement, which meant, at least to me, that he was not coaching the bowl game. That’s OK, too, because the sanctions under which he will have to work with are crippling enough. He needs to recruit for Baylor and someone else needs to keep the current Temple recruiting class together (maybe Francis Brown).
I wrote Matt an old-fashioned handwritten letter upon returning home from work and placed it in the neighborhood mailbox after working out at the gym. I hope he gets it:
Thank you for giving me last Saturday, the very best of many great days I have spent as a Temple football fan over the last 40 or so years. Thank you for the way you and your wonderful players represented this terrific university and I wish you and your family many similar joyous days like Saturday in the not-too-distant future.
That deals with the departure part of it, and now we get to the arrival area. To me, the university needs to no longer roll the dice with the hiring of an assistant coach. Being an assistant is not the same as being a head coach. It is a totally different job. You can be a great assistant and a terrible head coach. The world is littered with such examples. UConn found that out the hard way by hiring the “hottest” assistant coach available in Bob Diaco and that hiring turned out to be a train wreck.
NO MORE ASSISTANT COACHES. I don’t care if they are hot assistants, cold assistants, lukewarm assistants. Temple University should hire a proven winning head coach who has done it for multiple years at the FBS level, preferably at Temple University.
Al Golden, who has won here as a HEAD COACH, knows how to win and recruit here, is available and the current tight ends coach with the Detroit Lions. Ask yourself if you would rather coach the tight ends at the Lions or be head coach at Temple. He was 32-25 as a head coach under brutal sanctions at Miami and got fired for not achieving unrealistic expectations. He, above all other people, knows the grass is not always greener on the other side of the 10th and Diamond fence. If Golden can make written assurances with an astronomical buyout that guarantees a longer second stay, he is, as Bill Bradshaw wrote on that yellow legal pad in 2005: “Our guy.”
Thursday: Finished Business