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The best choice as new coach? You bet

The Athletic Department finally has the man it coveted. And it almost took an entire calendar month to get him.
Throughout his search, Director of Athletics Bill Bradshaw had listed several qualifications for the vacant men’s basketball coaching position, and Fran Dunphy met them all.…

The Athletic Department finally has the man it coveted. And it almost took an entire calendar month to get him.

Throughout his search, Director of Athletics Bill Bradshaw had listed several qualifications for the vacant men’s basketball coaching position, and Fran Dunphy met them all.

Successful Division I coaching experience. Check.

Conference championships. Yep.

A track record of integrity and compliance with NCAA guidelines. Another checkmark.

Strong classroom performance from student-athletes (let me remind you he coached at Penn) and a feel for Philadelphia. A given, considering he’s a native.

From the moment John Chaney announced his retirement last month, Dunphy was widely considered the favorite for the job. But if Dunph really was the perfect replacement to Chaney, what took so long for him to be hired? As of yesterday, the four-week search was the longest among Division I programs.

Obviously some people within the Temple community had doubts about the legitimacy of Bradshaw’s search. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported late last week that the university’s Board of Trustees was rumored to have wanted a slower-paced search. The several-dozen-person committee also reportedly wanted Bradshaw to conduct a new search…nearly four weeks into the process.

Throughout the ordeal, Dunphy’s name consistently popped up as being the front-runner, but day after day, no announcement was made. Bradshaw denied any notion that Dunphy was a favorite candidate, claiming that Dunphy’s top-status was a creation of the media.

“We definitely wanted to have a search that was comprehensive and exhaustingly thorough,” Bradshaw said after the press conference. “We wanted to make sure that we gave the fans a gesture of honesty and fairness.”

Rumors swirled around former Temple point guard Rick Brunson. Several former players pushed favorably for him to take the coaching reigns, promising added financial support, the Inquirer reported. Brunson was also personally recommended by Chaney, Bradshaw said.

But ultimately, Brunson’s interview was given out of courtesy.

“I’m not sure with his credentials, and his never having coached, that outside of coach Chaney’s recommendation [Brunson] would have been a candidate that we necessarily would talk to in a search for a head coach for Temple,” Bradshaw said.

This is exactly why the Board wanted to slow down the process. The Board wanted to make sure the search was legit.

Regardless of whether Brunson had a substantial shot at the job, Temple hired the best candidate. Dunphy’s outstanding credentials rank far above those of any other Temple had interviewed.

He brings more Division I wins to a Big 5 program than any new Big 5 hire ever has. He’s won 10 Ivy League Championships and has made nine appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

He’s a proven winner.

Off the court, too, that is. Community involvement was a high requirement in Temple’s search, and Dunphy has assisted with the Big Brother/Big Sister program as well as Coaches vs. Cancer.

Temple chose the right guy, but the process took a day short of forever.

John Kopp can be reached at jpk85@juno.com

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