Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Haves, The Might-Haves and The Have-Nots

Tom Davis covered both Brady Hoke and Pete Lembo at Ball State.

Funny how people remember where they were when big events happen.
I'm the same way with Temple football coaches coming and going.
I was there when Wayne Hardin quit, saying something I'll never forget: "Mediocrity is not my cup of tea."
Pete Lembo is cut from the same
mold as Wayne Hardin and Bruce
I was standing in the back of the room when Bruce Arians exited Mitten Hall after his final press conference at Temple. I was the Temple football beat writer for Calkins Newspapers at the time. He was about to make the turn to leave, saw me there, and stopped to say: "Hey, Mike, I just wanted to thank you for being so fair to me over the years."
Stunned by the thoughtfulness of the gesture, I could only say, "My pleasure. Good luck, Bruce."
We shook hands and that was the last time I saw him. The loss was Temple's. Even Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz mentioned as much in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch interview years later, making a point about fired coaches and saying, "Look at Temple. Firing Bruce Arians set that program back 20 years."
Something told me that Temple would never get two great coaches like that again. More importantly, two great men.
Temple hasn't had one like that since, a "triple-threat" coach (game management, recruiting, CEO ability).
I hope the Owls snatch one of those types now.
While Al Golden was a great program-builder, he was never the game day coach Hardin and Arians were. (Hardin was great; Arians was good.) Golden was a two-tool guy (recruiting, CEO).
Wayne Hardin and Bruce Arians were great coaches and great men, the "haves" in a coaching fraternity of too many "have-nots" and "Might-Haves."
Temple needs a "have" right now.
The Might-Haves
Matt Rhule and Todd Bowles are great men.
I'm not sure about them being great head coaches.
I wish I were. Sorry, I'm not. Honestly, nobody is.
Unless you've done the head-coaching thing, metaphysical certainty about how someone will do as a head coach is impossible.
There are really good pluses about both guys, though. Rhule has experience in every facet of building Golden's program except making the final decisions under fire.
Bowles was both an NFL and a college coach and recruited for the great Doug Williams at Grambling.
So he, like Rhule, knows about going into homes of kids and looking them and their parents in the eye and saying, "Come to Temple."
Rhule and Bowles are "might-haves."
The Have-Nots
People like Mark D'Onofrio, who had to be escorted out of campus by Temple security the last time he was here, is a "Have-Not." He's interviewing only because he was defensive coordinator for a Miami team ranked No. 118 in defense this year. Rather than fire his old buddy, Al Golden is pushing Temple to take D'Onofrio off his hands. I hope Temple AD Bill Bradshaw sees through this and his interview with D'Onofrio  yesterday was not more than a courtesy to Golden.
To me, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco is also a have-not. He would not turn down a once-in-a-generation opportunity to coach Notre Dame in a National Championship game. That game is Jan. 7. Signing day is Feb. 3. Temple needs someone able to fully commit to 24-hour recruiting between now and Feb. 3, being behind the 8-Ball already. Temple got fooled before by a blustery-talking assistant from a big-time program and I hope it isn't fooled again.
The Haves
Dave Clawson is a great head coach and, by all accounts, a good man. So is Ball State's Pete Lembo.
Mario Cristobal is also a proven winner as a head coach and I've never heard anything bad about him, personally. He turned down the Rutgers' job and a $1 million pay raise to stay at FIU. There's something to be said for that kind of loyalty. is reporting that Clawson has withdrawn his name from consideration from the coaching search. is the only place reporting that. It's not on OwlsDaily. It's not on any of the popular "inside" coaching sites, like
I'm hoping that's not true.
Lembo is not being reported as a Temple candidate, but  Bradshaw said yesterday that some interviews have yet to be conducted "because their teams are in bowl games" and I'm hoping he means Lembo, whose 9-3 Ball State team is in the Beef O'Brady Bowl. If Temple hasn't reached out to Lembo now, it should.
Cristobal already has interviewed and would be more than acceptable as a Temple coach in my mind, having built Florida International University's program "from a hole in the ground" (his words) into a two-time bowl team.
Temple needs a have right now.
It had two in Hardin and Arians and it's way past time for a third.

Tomorrow: Reading the tea leaves