Those of us in the Temple University community have been encouraged to contact school president Richard M. Englert in regards to the men's basketball program and its current head coach, Fran Dunphy, following a 17-16 campaign. Below is my attempt to share my take with Temple's top doc, professor and official all rolled into one.
It is my understanding that you want input from alumni and fans about the state of the program, specifically as it stands under current head coach Fran Dunphy.
I qualify as both ... or at least I used to qualify as both.
Frankly, I was never a fan of Fran's hiring by the university -- not because I didn't think he was a great guy, or would be a great representative of the school, but because I never saw him as a "fit" at Temple. I'd been in the sports media business quite some time by then, been a beat writer for major college basketball and football teams, and thought it was ill-advised to have him succeed John Chaney. In truth, I thought it weakened two programs in the city -- ours and Penn's.
That being said, I supported "my school," my alma mater (B.A., Journalism, 1990), albeit grudgingly at times because I could see the writing on the wall for the program under Fran all along, right up until the Villanova game this past December. That confirmed to me just how low things had gone.
It is very difficult to justify to myself paying hard-earned dollars to see an Owls squad quit before the opening tip. The Cherry & White were completely unprepared and thoroughly uninspired ... and that speaks volumes, to me, about coaching. It doesn't matter how great the opponent is. That was a disgrace, at home no less, and something I have chosen to never be a part of again.
So I stopped supporting the program from that moment on, and will not support it as long as Fran remains coach.
I've been there for some great wins under his watch: Duke, Xavier, Syracuse, VCU, Kansas, SMU, UConn. All upsets. All wonderful. All, sadly, just fleeting exhibitions of something the program really isn't anymore -- relevant, to the point of being known on a national scope.
This is not some spur-of-the-moment demise of a program. This has been brewing all along since Fran took over. He is a great guy. He is a great representative of the school. He's even a good coach -- just not at Temple, which, to really succeed, needs to step outside the box and take chances and go after the big-time recruits and have the personality to actually get some of them.
That isn't Fran. He was the safe choice. He was going to be accepted by the Philly media and Temple fans, and the administration hopped on that ... and this is the end result of opting for safe then, and repeatedly since with contract extensions given him.
As you can see, even with rationalizations aplenty, that move either hasn't worked out, or it has run its course.
I wish you well in how you handle things with regard to this matter. I love my school, and I'd love to get back to supporting it, in person, as a season ticker-holder again. But that won't be happening in regard to basketball unless the Owls get a different coach.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely, Jack Kerwin
P.S.: Here is some of my more heartfelt blogging about the Owls under Fran.