It’s a bittersweet time to be a Temple football fan. After decades of wandering the college football wilderness — including the time the Owls were kicked out of the Big East for not winning enough — Temple is winning again, which is obviously a good thing. But the Owls are now winning so much that their head coaches keep getting hired away to bigger jobs.
After going 10-26 in his first three seasons, Al Golden went 17-8 in 2009-10, then left for Miami.
Steve Addazio went 13-11 in 2011-12, then left for Boston College.
Matt Rhule went 28-23 from 2013-16, then left for Baylor.
And now Geoff Collins has left for Georgia Tech after going 15-10 in two seasons.
Throughout the past decade, Temple has identified and then stuck to a formula that works for them: all of the four coaches above were first-time head coaches.
Golden was Virginia’s defensive coordinator when Temple hired him ahead of the 2006 season. Addazio was the offensive coordinator at Florida. Rhule had spent a season as the assistant offensive line coach for the New York Giants, but prior to that was Temple’s offensive coordinator from 2008-11. Collins was Florida’s defensive coordinator before Temple hired him in the winter of 2016.
With the job now open yet again, sources have indicated Temple plans to follow its same well-worn path.
Sources have said that Temple has shown a clear preference for defensive-minded coaches to this point. While there are likely other candidates as well, two names that sources specifically mentioned are of interest in Philadelphia are Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko and Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.
Elko is in his first season in College Station, part of a decade and a half long climb up the coaching ladder; his first defensive coordinator job came at the Merchant Marine Academy in 2001, and from there Elko coordinated defenses at Fordham, Hofstra, Bowling Green, Wake Forest and Notre Dame before joining Jimbo Fisher’s staff.
In his one season on staff, Elko has helped the Aggies’ defense improve from 78th to 36th in total defense and from 87th to 58th in scoring defense.
Diaz has also followed a similar career path, coordinating defenses at Middle Tennessee, Mississippi State, Texas, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State again and now Miami for the past three seasons.
Despite Miami’s season that began in the AP Top 10 and finished at 7-5, The U’s defense performed exceptionally well this fall. The Hurricanes are No. 2 nationally in total defense, No. 3 in yards per play allowed, No. 3 in pass efficiency defense, No. 11 in sacks, No. 12 in takeaways and No. 15 in scoring defense.
With Signing Day just nine days away, Temple is preparing to move fast, with a hire announcement later this week not outside the realm of possibility.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.