While Temple supporters continue to grieve at the loss of football coach Matt Rhule, who was announced as the head coach of Baylor Tuesday, little has been made of another coaching accomplishment tackled on North Broad this year.
Rhule, who amassed a 28-23 record in four seasons at Temple, including back-to-back 10 win seasons and netted the team’s first conference championship since 1967, undoubtedly is a huge loss for the Owls. But on the basketball court, the work of Fran Dunphy has largely gone unnoticed by the passionate fan base.
While the football team has cycled through three coaches (Al Golden, Steve Addazio and Rhule) in the past 10 years, the basketball team has held just one roaming the sidelines in that timespan.
Mustache or no mustache, Dunphy has led the Owls to a 220-122 record, through the start of his 11th season at the helm. The Owls have reached the NCAA Tournament in seven of those years, while Dunphy has racked up four Coach of the Year Awards (2010, 2012, 2015, 2016) between the Atlantic-10 and AAC Conferences for his success.
After dropping two of their first three games to New Hampshire and UMass, Dunphy has the Owls on a roll with a five-game win streak including wins over No. 25 Florida State, No. 19 West Virginia and St. Joe’s.
The Owls got past Penn, Dunphy’s former coaching stay, 70-64 to improve to 6-2 on the year on Saturday.
“I thought Penn gave us everything we needed to help us be a better basketball team in the end after playing this game,” Dunphy said. “I’m hoping we have a certain something about us -- we finished today, we were a little shaky but we found a way to maintain the lead there. I’m confident in this group, but we’ve got to get better.”
Outside of a brutal 2013-14 season for Dunphy and the Owls where they finished just 9-22 on the year, Dunphy has always found a way to maximize his team’s talent while fighting the recruiting battle against the likes of Villanova on a yearly basis.
Dunphy’s current examples are that of freshman Quinton Rose and Alani Moore. The two freshman, who were passed over by the majority of the major schools across the country, are making an immediate impact this season. In the past four games, Rose is averaging 14.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists while Moore is right behind with 11.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
Add in junior Obi Enechionyia who is playing at an All-American level right now with 19.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game and the Owls are looking to be a dangerous force when American Conference play begins at the end of the month.
“We've just got to be smarter and tougher,” Moore said after Saturday’s win. “Smarter and tougher than everybody else. I think we have the potential to be great."