Current Staff? Meh ….


This is the resume Nick Rapone could have brought to Temple.

Everything in life is a trade-off and, so it is with Temple football coaching staffs as this story illustrates.

“My son said, ‘Dad, it’s like Night and Day between this staff and Al Golden’s staff,’ “ John Palumbo’s father told me during Steve Addazio’s first Cherry and White Day. “He said, Dad, these guys are all National Championship coaches. They know what they are doing.”


Palumbo knew what he was talking about. He started at center for both Golden’s last team and Addazio’s first team. Daz took Golden’s talent and made it a bowl-winning team.

Golden was the great CEO-type, someone with a binder full of recruiting contacts up and down the East Coast and nobody was more well-equipped to stock the Temple roster with the talent it needed to succeed—if not win—the MAC.

Addazio was the ambitious successor, a guy who supposedly loved the macaroni and South Philly Italian food so much that he would stay here 10 years. We later found out what he was, a bull-bleeper who could sell snowballs to the Eskimos. In that sense, Daz bought an all-star staff with him to Philadelphia—the defensive coordinator at Florida, Chuck Heater, and Scot Loeffler, a damn good offensive coordinator.


They were a good sight better than Mark D’Onofrio and Matt Rhule, Golden’s last coordinators but part of the price of bringing that kind of talent to Philadelphia was that Daz probably promised that he would take them along to a P5 stop in a year or two.

When the Owls hired Geoff Collins from Florida, I had a feeling it would be more like a Daz hire than a Golden or Rhule hire in that he’d poach the Florida staff of a couple of top position coaches with a promise of making them coordinators here. No such luck. The only person he poached from the Gators was the equipment manager.

It wasn’t what I expected.

You get what you pay for. Two days after he was hired, Steve Addazio wooed his buddy, then Florida national championship co-defensive coordinator (really, THE guy according to Urban Meyer), Chuck Heater. Temple paid Mark D’Onofrio $200,000 to be DC in the 2010 season. Daz convinced Lewis Katz, his guy, to kick in an extra $200K to secure the services of Heater. Katz is gone and probably so are the days of Temple outbidding P5 teams for any assistant football coach’s services. Heater loved it here, biked every day from Center City to 10th and Diamond and had a good relationship with many Temple fans, big donors and small.

Now, we have an offensive coordinator from Coastal Carolina, a defensive coordinator from Kennesaw State and position coaches from West Alabama and Georgia State. It’s particularly sad in that Nick Rapone, a former FCS defensive coordinator of the year who spent the last few years with Bruce Arians with the Arizona Cardinals, expressed an interest in the DC job after Taver Johnson left. So did Temple legend Kevin Ross, who was the DB coach with the NFL team.

Instead of NFL guys, we have Kennesaw State and West Alabama guys. Not the kind of resumes that will make sons of the current Owls tell their fathers that the Rhule and Phil Snow did not know what they were doing.

Maybe the trade-off is a little more loyalty for fewer wins. Give me consistent wins on Saturday or any day of the week against mediocre 7-6 records and loyalty every year of the decade. I know I would have them with guys like Scot Loeffler, Chuck Heater, Nick Rapone and Kevin Ross.

These small school guys?

Not so much.

Friday: Developmental Program?



Owls Need Experience at DC


When Matt Rhule was putting the final piece to the puzzle that was his Temple coaching staff, he said to me over the phone two days after he was hired that “I have a older guy with a lot of experience in mind and with a young coaching staff, I think that’s the kind of guy we need.”

I later learned that was Phil Snow.

After a rocky start at Temple, Snow put his defense in place and, by the second AAC championship game he coached in, there were few better in the country. I wasn’t a big fan of Phil at first, but he won me over four years later when it took him that long to put in his defense.


All but one of the above played for Rapone at Temple

Geoff Collins might be wise to consider the same approach now that Taver Johnson is headed to Ohio State to essentially fill the 10th coaching spot Adam DiMichele filled at Temple.

With all due respect to Andrew Thacker, he simply doesn’t have the experience at an important position that a school as large as Temple should demand.

Nick Rapone, who was the defensive backs coach with the Arizona Cardinals (Temple West, located in Tempe) for Bruce Arians, does and he has the ability to put any type of defense in at a faster rate than even the Sainted Phil Snow did for the Sainted Matt Rhule. You want real Mayhem? Hire Nick Rapone.

Rapone’s daughter graduated from Temple and Rapone himself has some deep ties to Philadelphia and the Owls, having served two stints as an assistant here already.

As DC at  Delaware, Rapone was a part of two NCAA national runner-up teams, including in 2010 when he helped the Blue Hens to a 12-3 record and a share of the Colonial Athletic Association title. Rapone was named the 2010 FootballScoop NCAA Division I FCS Coordinator of the Year as his defense led the nation in scoring (12.1 ppg), ranked fifth in total defense (280.7 ypg) and was 12th in rushing defense (105.3 ypg). The secondary included four All-CAA performers, including All-American selections Anthony Walters and Anthony Bratton at safety. The Hens also ranked ninth in the nation in passing efficiency (102.7), and the team’s 21 INTs were the third-highest total in the nation at the FCS level.

He was the Owls’ defensive coordinator under Arians and the Owls more than held their own as a defense against two top 10 schedules under him.

Most importantly, he’s available and he does have extensive DC experience at the highest levels of football, not at developmental programs like Kennesaw State.

That’s what Thacker does not have nor did Johnson. Neither of those guys have any history of stopping offenses. Rapone has a long and storied one.

Like Rhule said back then about Snow, I think that’s just the kind of guy Temple needs.

Collins should at least pick up the phone and give him a call.

Or vice-versa.

Valentine’s Day: Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes

Friday: A Closer Look at the AAC Schedule

Monday: Developmental Program?

2/21: Philly Special

2/23: New Transfer Rule