Happy Birthday, Coach Hardin

 

Very classy tribute from Temple football video guys.

As an undergrad at Temple, Wayne Hardin was the only head football coach I ever knew at my school. As a result, winning was the only thing I ever knew. From the time I entered Temple to the time I graduated, Temple had four-straight winning seasons.
The Owls have not accomplished that feat since.

hardin

Joe Mesko (left), Hardin’s first TU captain, shakes hands with Roger Staubach, Hardin’s last Navy captain, last night  with coach and Steve Conjar in between.

Now that coach Hardin turned 90 yesterday, a group of his former players both at Temple and Navy honored him with a dinner last night in Florida, and it was a fitting tribute because they got to tell him again how much he meant to them and that was important.

I got to know coach Hardin as a reporter for the Temple News. Al Shrier, the then Sports Information Director, arranged for me an interview when I was a junior who was given the football beat.

To me, it was like getting to interview The Wizard of Oz.

One of the questions I asked him was about fun and football.

“The only fun in football is winning,” Hardin said.

That’s pretty much the way I felt then and my entire life and pretty much why I take losing so hard.

People talk about Bill Belichick’s coaching tree but, in reality, Belichick is one of the small branches on Hardin’s tree. Belichick’s dad, Steve Belichick, was a longtime scout and assistant for Hardin at Navy. When Hardin was head coach there, Belichick was just a kid. Yet Belichick tagged along at Navy practices and soaked up as much as he could.

Hardin was noted for outsmarting other coaches not only with everyday schemes but with trick plays and a keen eye on exploiting opponents’ weaknesses.

Patriots quick kicks, unique punt and field-goal rushes, certain trick plays — Belichick credits Hardin for many of them.

This from Comcast New England on Temple’s Garden State Bowl win:
“In 1979, when the Owls took on heavily-favored Cal in the Garden State Bowl at Giants Stadium, Belichick was in attendance. The Giants special-teams coach at the time, Belichick sat with then Giants assistant Ernie Adams, who now works alongside Belichick as the football research director for the Patriots. The pair of young and talented football minds were completely baffled as they watched Hardin toy with Cal’s linebackers, who were taught to read the guards in front of them.

“Ernie and I were sitting up there watching the game, and on the first series of plays, one guard pulled deep, the other guard pulled short,” Belichick said. “And they just folded around to get the linebacker, but they pulled. And the two inside linebackers ran into each other. I looked at Ernie, and he looked at me . . .”

Did Temple just screw that up, they wondered?

“Four or five plays later, same thing. The two linebackers,” Belichick clapped his hands together loudly, imitating the collision, “because they’re standing right next to each other. They went right into each other. [Temple ran] straight down to the safety for, like, 20 yards. They must’ve run that play six or seven times and it was 20 yards every time . . . At the time, I’d never seen that before.”

The result was the first bowl win in Temple history and a wide-eyed and impressed New York Giants’ assistant coach named Belichick.

Later, after graduating from Temple, I covered Hardin’s teams for Calkins Newspapers. While in the press box in State College, Hardin was driving Penn State head coach Joe Paterno crazy with similar schemes and play calls and Temple took a lead late into the third quarter against the heavily favored Nittany Lions. The Owls had several close calls before that game and it was only because Hardin was able to close the talent gap against the Nits with his brilliant mind. John Kunda, the long-time sports editor of the Allentown Morning Call, broke the silence in the press box.

tree

Bill Belichick is from the Hardin tree, but coach Hardin is from the Amos Alonzo Stagg tree. Must be a Redwood.

“Hardin’s outcoaching Joe again,” Kunda said.

The press box erupted into laughter, but it was a laugh of respect. I just sat there beaming with pride in the knowledge that the smartest guy on the field every Saturday was coaching my team and everybody in the room acknowledged something I already knew.

Fortunately, coach Hardin was there last year to see the Owls finally get that monkey off their back. Happy birthday, coach Hardin, and many more healthy and happy ones.

One thing I’m sure both the Navy and Temple guys agreed on last night were two words:

Beat Army.

Saturday: We’re Talkin’ Practice

Coach voted into Hall of Fame

There are more good  TU plays called in these 10 minutes than 2 years of Dazball.

For all of my life, I’ve simply known him as Coach.
That’s what I called him when I first met him as a sports writer for The Temple News back in the 1970s and that’s what I called him when I saw him last year.
Now I’ll just call him a Hall of Famer.
This morning news comes from Atlanta that  coach Wayne Hardin has been voted into the Hall of Fame.
Probably the best compliment coach ever gave me was last year.
“Mike, I read your blog and it is first-class,” coach said.
First-class.

Coach was the man behind greatest helmets in Temple history, although I have seen better Temple hats.

(Doc Chodoff also told me the same thing a couple of years ago and I was just as flattered.)
I like that hyphenated word because that’s the way I’ve always described coach Hardin.
He was a first-class coach and, for the years he was Temple’s head coach, the Owls had the best head coach in the country.
Period, end of story.
To me the definition of a great head coach is someone who gets the most out of the talent available to him.
Nobody got more out of his talent than Wayne Hardin.

Wayne Hardin storieson TFF through the years

“We get kidded about our short, fat, kids, but we don’t time them in the 40,” Hardin once said. “They might not be too fast over 40 yards but, from here to there, they are not too bad and that’s all we ask of them.”
Meanwhile, he made a nice living out of outsmarting coaches with better players.
Hardin never beat Penn State, but it wasn’t out of a lack of wits against Joe Paterno.
“Hardin’s outcoaching Joe again,” Allentown Morning Call columnist Joe Kunda said out loud in the Beaver Stadium press box as the Owls took a halftime lead at Penn State.
Everybody laughed.

Ukraine checking in for a 3-minute read of TFF.

Everybody knew Kunda was right.
Think about it.
The highest Temple was ever ranked came in 1979, when the Owls rose to No. 17 in both the AP and UPI polls.
The highest Navy was ever ranked (at least in the modern era) was No. 2 in the nation in 1962.
The head coach in both cases?
Wayne Hardin.
No one has ever been more deserving of the Hall of Fame.
Congrats, coach.

Helmet change now would be Golden Rhule

The new Western Michigan helmet. I don’t remember what the old one looked like.

Temple helmet records:
T (one year each of Wallace and Golden): 1-22
T (during Berndt and Dickerson): 19-80;
T (during Addazio): 13-11;
Cartoon Owl (seven years under Wallace): 19-60
TEMPLE (final four years of Golden): 26-23
TEMPLE (all of Hardin and Arians): 107-91-3
Total: TEMPLE=133 wins, 114 losses, 3 ties
T=33 wins, 113 losses

Thought it kind of odd that, in the middle of recruiting season, new Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck introduced a new helmet.
I thought new coaches were in a full-out sprint to firm up and add to recruiting classes and didn’t have time to address a pursuit as trivial (by comparison) as helmets.
Now they do.
I hope Matt Rhule does.
An established tradition at Temple is that a new helmet is solely the call of a new head coach.
Wayne Hardin changed the helmet from the stupid Owl to TEMPLE and the Owls won like never before. Bruce Arians wisely kept the TEMPLE and had the Owls go 6-5 (twice) against a Top 10 national schedule. Try picturing current-day Temple going 6-5 twice against a SEC schedule. That’s pretty much what Arians did.
Jerry Berndt changed the TEMPLE helmet to the T and the Owls promptly went 1-10. Bad Karma.

“The 2007 helmet brings us back to the most successful TEAM period in the history of Temple football.”
_Al Golden

The T took TEMPLE through some awful Ron Dickerson and Bobby Wallace years. Heck, Wallace even changed the helmet to the comedic (joke on us) cartoon Owl for awhile, before ending his tenure with the T.
Al Golden changed all that with some good coaching … and good Karma.
The winning Temple teams that Al Golden remembered had the word TEMPLE on the helmet and he mentioned branding as the reason he changed back to the TEMPLE helmet after his first season.
“There are several reasons for the change,” Golden said. “The first is for our current team to discover our tradition. The 2007 helmet brings us back to the most successful TEAM period in the history of Temple Football; a time that produced a 10-game winner and a final Top 20 ranking in both polls. The second reason is quite simply branding. When I was growing up in New Jersey, Temple’s helmets were unique. It was the most recognizable helmet in the East, let alone the country. Somewhere along the way that got lost, so I wanted to bring it back. The last reason has to do with our overall football operation. Our goal is to be first in every endeavor that we believe impacts our football team. We now feel like we have the best uniform, not only in the MAC, but on the East Coast. We have our brand back and it is here to stay.”

The greatest helmet in the history of college football, IMHO.

The move was universally applauded, especially by ex-Temple players.
I thought that was great and made TEMPLE stand out from other Ts on other helmets, like Tennessee and Tulane.
We all know and love our Temple ‘][‘ but, really, how many non-Temple people located in Idaho or Montana or Washington or even Tennessee can tell that’s a Temple ‘][‘ right away?
Not many, I’d venture to say.
In the grand scheme of things, a helmet change is not all that important but, considering the amount of winning TEMPLE did under the TEMPLE brand and losing under the T brand, I think it’s called for now.
The attitude inside the helmet is much more important than the lettering on the outside, but I’m proud of being from TEMPLE and I think both the T and the TEMPLE branding should be a consideration when designing the new helmet.

There is a King Solomon-like solution here and I hope that Rhule has the wisdom to see it:

Split the baby in half.
Put TEMPLE on one side and the ‘][‘ on the other.
That way you have the branding concerns by marketing taken care of and you salute the greatest helmet era in TEMPLE history by putting it on the other half of the helmet. Heck, having TEMPLE on the other side of the helmet enhances and not detracts, from the ‘][‘ brand because of the constant reminder of what the ‘][‘ stands for on every tackle, interception or touchdown.
You leave no doubt as to what school the T stands for and you have the most unique and best helmet in college football.
Then keep it that way for a long, long time.

Temple Helmet Records

Temple T
Cartoon Owl
TEMPLE
One year Golden=1-11
7 years Wallace=19-60
Hardin (13 years)=80-52-3
One year Wallace=0-11
Arians (5 years)=27-39
Berndt and Dickerson=19-80
Golden=26-23
Two years Addazio=13-11
Total=33 wins, 113 losses
Total=19 wins, 60 losses
Total=107 wins, 91 losses, 3 ties

Throwback Thursday: Temple 55, Louisville 14

Bill Cosby opened a monologue on Oct. 11, 1982 praising TU’s win over Louisville.

The Tonight Show host opened his guest stint on Monday night, Oct. 11, 1982 with this line:
“I love Louisville. I love Louisville because Temple beat them, 55-14, in football Saturday night. Crushed them. I love Louisville.”
The guest host, a comedian named Bill Cosby subbing for Johnny Carson again, received loud applause from those in the audience who loved Louisville the town and Temple football.
Then Cosby went right into a hilarous routine about his playing days at Temple.
Louisville football fans did not appreciate the mention as much and flooded NBC with letters (this was before the days of email).
Evidently, there were few Louisville football fans in the Burbank audience.
There are many more Louisville football fans today.
Winning can do that for a program.
There was a time not all that long ago when Temple was not only where Louisville is now, but was much better than Louisville. History shows that the Owls are 3-2 all-time vs. Louisville, with their only losses coming, 21-12, on the road in 2003 and 62-0 at home in 2006, the first year of the Al Golden Reclamation Project. Temple has beaten Louisville by an average score of 24-12.
Louisville is rated about 105 slots ahead of Temple in the current rankings.
Temple coach Al Golden is confident that the Owls are headed in the direction Louisville is now.

Rick Pitino explains to reporters that Temple can beat Louisville
if the Owls use play-action fakes to Montel Harris on first down
to find open receivers and buy time for Chris Coyer to throw.
At least that’s what we think he’s saying.   Meanwhile, the Daily News’
Dick Jerardi (background) looks  longingly at the buffet table.

Golden is not a patient man and both he and Temple fans hope they can get there sooner rather than later.
What follows below is what can happen when a superbly-coached Temple team takes the field, an account of the Owls’ 55-14 win at Louisville a generation ago.
By Jere Longman
Inquirer Staff Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – There was great optimism in the Louisville athletic department last night. Basketball practice starts Friday.
Football? Well, that’s another story. Football here ranks a distant fifth to varsity basketball, intramural basketball, fast-running horses and slow-sipping bourbon.
It’s not hard to see why.
Take last night’s 55-14 humiliation by Temple (3-3). The Cardinals jumped ahead early but were helpless as the Owls steamrolled ahead, 27-7, by halftime.
Led by linebacker Tom Kilkenny, the Owls tuned up for Pittsburgh by sacking quarterbacks Dean May and Scott Gannon eight times and intercepting May twice.
”Our defense gave us good pressure to make the offense go,” said Temple coach Wayne Hardin.

This is the Louisville weather starting tomorrow.

Louisville’s defense was as inept as its offense, surrendering 402
yards and resuscitating the Owls repeatedly with mental lapses.
Temple played with injuries to several of its running backs but still
delivered 277 rushing yards. Harold Harmon rolled up 108 yards in the first half before exiting with a bruised heel. Rod Moore, understudy to injured fullback Brian Slade, scored twice in the first half.
Quarterback Tim Riordan completed 8 of 11 passes for 132 yards and a 38-yard
touchdown.
Early in the third quarter, Louisville (2-3) closed to 27-14, but its defense was too leaky to contain anyone stronger than Wisconsin-Stout. First, the Owls drew the Cardinals offside on a fourth-and-one at the 38, then repeated the trickery to gain first-and-goal at the eight. Riordan rolled right, and tightroped his way into the end zone, putting the game out of reach, 34-14.
“We’ve come close before, but recently our offense has been
sputtering,” Hardin said.
“I don’t know of another team in the country who could lose their top three runners (Jim Brown, Slade and Joe Baiunco) and still play the way these kids played.”
For good measure, cornerback Anthony Young intercepted May late in the third quarter and returned the ball 54 yards to the Louisville four. A facemask penalty put the ball at the one, backup tailback Sherman Myers (58 yards rushing) vaulted over and the margin was now 41-14. The audience of 19,223 at Cardinal Stadium was not amused.
Early in the fourth quarter, a group of students began singing, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over,” but Temple scored twice more before anyone could find the switch.
Gannon was flushed from the pocket at the four, only to be rammed by
nose tackle Bob Shires. The ball bounced into the end zone and was
pounced on by Jerry McDowell.
With 5 minutes, 29 seconds left, Young fielded a punt and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown, pulling Temple ahead, 55-14. That was the most points the Owls had scored since 1978, when they rang up 56 on that vaunted football power, Akron.
“Anthony Young had another outstanding night,” Hardin said. “That was
our first TD on a punt return in about 10 years.”
The outcome was quite unexpected and embarrassing in Bluegrass
Country.
Fueled by an earlier win over Oklahoma State of the Big 8 Conference, the locals figured Louisville football finally was emerging from the shadows of its basketball team.
Indeed, Denny Crum, the basketball coach, has been appearing on television boosting Bob Weber’s football program. The local media wondered whether Louisville’s big problem this weekend would be taking Temple too lightly.
Now Louisville’s big problem appears to be regaining whatever shred of
credibility it once enjoyed. Some schools don’t score 55 points on the
Cardinals’ basketball team.
“We just got an old-fashioned whipping,” Weber said. “We played much poorer than I ever thought possible. The first half, we were just standing around, and the second half was just an after-the-fact happening for us.”
Temple grabbed a quick 3-0 lead on Bob Clauser’s dying-quail field
goal of 39 yards.

belt
Frank Minniefield gave Louisville some false confidence, fielding a punt and slashing up the middle for an 88-yard touchdown. The Cardinals were temporarily ahead, but it was all a mirage.
Temple quickly regained the lead, 10-7, driving 80 yards to score in
seven plays.
“What bothers me is that we started so slow and never got into the
game mentally,” Weber said.

Tomorrow: Fast Forward Friday

Hardin belongs in the Hall of Fame

If it were not for Wayne Hardin, I probably would not have been a Temple football fan today.
If it were not for Wayne Hardin, I would not believe winning football was possible at Temple University.
Hardin was around, still is, and for that I am a fan and I am a believer.
The ballots were released yesterday for College Football’s Hall of Fame and there are nine coaches on it.
I don’t see a more deserving coach than coach Hardin.
Consider just these three facts, if you will:
1) Navy rose to No. 2 in the country with Wayne Hardin as head coach;
2) Temple rose to No. 17 in the country (both polls) with Wayne Hardin as a head coach.
3) Neither school has been anywhere near those rankings since.


Two Hall of Fame Coaches


Hardin worked a miracle in Annapolis when it was nearly impossible to get numbers of great players to commit to Navy when the military demanded a five-year commitment.
He beat Army in four of the five years he faced the Cadets.
When Army’s defensive secondary was widely considered the No. 1 backfield in the nation, they were given the nickname “Chinese Bandits.”
For the game that year, Hardin had “Beat Army” written on the sides of the Navy helmets.
In Chinese.
Brilliant stuff.
Navy destroyed Army that day.
If one miracle wasn’t enough, he worked one in Philadelphia the next decade as head coach at Temple University, becoming the winningest coach in its history.
Before Temple played California in the Garden State Bowl, the Cal coaches wanted a film exchange with the Temple coaches. Hardin asked which coaches wanted the film.
He tailored the Temple game plan to what the Cal coaches saw in the film and did the opposite in the bowl game.
Temple led, 21-0, before Cal knew what Hardin was doing.
By then, it was too late.
Temple won, 28-17.
I never knew a man who was right about everything but the closest man who fit that description was Wayne Hardin.
“We’ll work toward getting Wayne Hardin into the College Football Hall of Fame because that’s where he deserves to be,” ex-Temple coach Al Golden said one month before his departure.
I hope Al hasn’t forgotten that promise and can take time out from his busy schedule to beat the drum for coach whenever he gets a chance.
I hope Steve Addazio does whatever he can do as well.
I’ve waited close to 30 years for another Wayne Hardin to arrive at Temple and I hope Steve Addazio is that guy and, while Bruce Arians and Al Golden did nice work, no one has come close to Hardin since.
Frankly, I don’t think anyone ever will.
Today’s coaches could learn a lot from the way Hardin prepared for a game.
Hardin could break down game film and attack a team’s weakness better than any coach I ever saw.
They say you need three certifiable miracles for Sainthood.

Well, Hardin has two documented ones and that’s all you should really need for the College Football Hall of Fame.

Waiting for Addazio

Wayne Hardin was 32 when he took the Navy head coaching gig and appeared on What’s My Line here.

Steve Addazio’s head coaching record:
1988 6-4
1989 10-1, State Runner up
1990 5-4-1
1991 7-3-1
1992 11-0, State Champions
1993 11-0, State Champions
1994 11-0, State Champions

The two best head coaches I’ve ever known are Wayne Hardin and Mike Pettine, in that order.
There is no close second group, although I’ve known Bruce Arians, Dick Vermeil and Al Golden as well on varying levels.
I won’t call him Mike Pettine Sr. and I won’t call the current New York Jets’ defensive coordinator Mike Pettine Jr. because there was a Mike Pettine who wasn’t as famous in football before those two, a father and a grandfather of the football ones.
Pettine was the head coach at Central Bucks West who went 326 wins, 42 defeats and four ties. Yes, that’s 326-42-4 with three state titles, all in a row, and two more mythical state titles before that. Oh yeah. In that total, were 13 unbeaten seasons.
Pettine could do more with (largely) 5-foot-10, 150-pound white kids than should be humanly possible.
I was excited when Wayne Hardin got the Temple job many, many years ago because I knew he came with a head coaching pedigree. Hardin, before coming to Temple, had Navy ranked No. 2 in the country and playing Texas in the Cotton Bowl.
Hardin, before coming to Temple, coached two Heisman Trophy winners: Roger Staubach and Joe Bellino.
Hardin, before coming to Temple, won a professional football league championship as a head coach.
Imagine Urban Meyer or Nick Saban leaving Florida or Alabama and taking the Temple job now?
That’s what it was like to Temple fans back in the day when Hardin took the Temple job.
If you say that can’t happen today, I agree. But it was just as remarkable back then to us, believe me.
In the middle of Pettine’s great run, many of his wins I covered, I mentioned to Mike that I always thought he would have been the perfect guy to succeed Bruce Arians at Temple.
He laughed.

“I had a chance to meet some of coach Hardin’s guys today,” Addazio said. “I know you are proud of your coach. I can see it in your faces. I appreciate some of you guys.”


“Mike, I think Gerry Faust ruined it for all of us high school coaches.”
Pettine had a point.
Faust went from a legend at Cincinnati Moeller to head coach at Notre Dame and he never panned out.
No high school coach, no matter how great, ever made the same jump again.
Yet I always believed that if you can HEAD coach, you can HEAD coach … if …IF you are the right person.
Bobby Wallace, who proved he could head coach elsewhere, was never that right person for here.
I always thought Temple should hire a guy who was a proven HEAD coach somewhere else, especially if the talent was already in place.
The talent is in place.
Steve Addazio is in another place, Florida, coaching the Gators in the Outback Bowl this Saturday, yet a week ago Addazio mentioned the Hardin connection.
“I had a chance to meet some of coach Hardin’s guys today,” Addazio said. “I know you are proud of your coach. I can see it in your faces. I appreciate some of you guys.”
(It was funny the way he said that, though I don’t think he meant anything negative by it. Some of you guys. I wonder who he didn’t appreciate?)
I’m warming to Steve Addazio being cut out of the same mold as Pettine and Hardin because of an email I got this week from Cheshire, Conn.

Mark Ecke, who runs the site Cheshirefootball.com, which covers the Cheshire football team sent me Addazio’s year-by-year breakdown at the only job where he ever was a HEAD coach.
“He’s the best, you’re going to love him,” Ecke concluded.
Ecke was as close to Addazio as I was to Hardin and Pettine.
For my money, Steve could not get any better endorsement.
If Addazio is half as good as Hardin and Pettine, he will do a great job at Temple.
The Outback Bowl can’t be over soon enough.