Forget about the famous baseball curses cast on the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs, which were only recently overcome.
There is one curse that is still alive in sports and that is the Curse of Russell Conwell.
Somewhere up there, Conwell has cast a curse on the last three coaches to leave his beloved Temple University and its football program.
Al Golden left for Miami and was greeted with sanctions that made it impossible to win there. Steve Addazio has taken his three-yards-and-a-cloud of dust offense to Boston College and went winless in the ACC two years ago. The jury is still out on Addazio, but it is leaning toward a unanimous conviction. Matt Rhule left Temple no more than two months ago and could hit with sanctions that would make the ones Golden received looked like a slap on the wrist.
Whatever happens going forward, you could win a lot of money in Vegas betting against any of the three having a long winning career as a college football head coach.
These are the facts that we know to this date and it is not a pretty picture. New Temple head coach Geoff Collins would be wise to stare at this portrait and get some deep meaning out of it.
All three of those coaches could have had a job at Temple for life—or at least a very long rope with to work with—but all three thought the grass was greener on the other side of the Chodoff Field fence. In fact, there has been no grass on the other side of that fence, only dust. The only value in the move was monetary and money will not last forever.
Conwell, in some type of afterlife, must be working some serious Voodoo pins with Golden, Daz and Rhule bobble heads.
About the time Conwell founded Temple University, he was the best-known lecturer in the United States, playing to sellout crowds who wanted to hear his story of the man who traveled the world in search of riches only to find “Acres of Diamonds” in his own backyard.
Most of the Temple coaches who found substance in Conwell’s story went on to finish with better careers at Temple than they would have leaving on their own for far-off places. Harry Litwack went to a pair of Final Fours. Skip Wilson won over 1,000 baseball games without the benefit of warm-weather recruits. Under Wilson, the Owls went to a pair of College World Series. John Chaney made five Elite Eights. Wayne Hardin went 80-52-2 and made the College Football Hall of Fame. All made Temple their final stop on the coaching highway.
Those, by any standards, are success stories. Leave Temple or attempt to use this great institution as a stepping stone and the story will not have a happy ending. Compare and contrast those success stories to the ones facing the last three Temple football coaches who left on their own.
Maybe when Collins comes to that inevitable fork in the road, he will take a good look at the map and head down the road less (recently) traveled. Russell Conwell may be watching from above.
Monday: Looking Ahead to Spring Ball
Wednesday: Press Conference Translations