Sports

A Tale of Two Programs

The banners hanging from the rafters in the Liacouras Center tell Temple basketball’s history. Beginning in the arena’s southwest corner, the banners highlight the best seasons for the men’s basketball team, many of them achieved under former coach John Chaney. And then they halt with the 2001 Elite Eight banner. But, sure enough, banners displaying… Read more »

The banners hanging from the rafters in the Liacouras Center tell Temple basketball’s history.

Beginning in the arena’s southwest corner, the banners highlight the best seasons for the men’s basketball team, many of them achieved under former coach John Chaney.
And then they halt with the 2001 Elite Eight banner.

But, sure enough, banners displaying conference championships won in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 finish the sequence in the northwest corner.

Only those banners signify the dominance of the women’s basketball team.

In a span of five years, the immediate goals of the two programs have switched.
As Chaney’s golden era essentially came to a close in 2001, Dawn Staley was just beginning to revitalize the women’s basketball team, which, at that point, had just one NCAA Tournament berth to its name.

Under Chaney, the men’s basketball team had sputtered to five consecutive National Invitational Tournaments. Staley’s teams have won four Atlantic Ten Conference titles in that span, but have yet to make a serious run in four NCAA Tournaments appearances.

Now, as two seasons begin, new men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy seeks to return his inherited program to what it once was – a staple in the NCAA Tournament.
Staley aims to capture some of the postseason glory that Chaney experienced in a few deep March runs.

Left to fill four starting positions with two freshmen and a bench that averaged
just 1.4 points per game last season, Dunphy knows he’s been dealt a tough hand, but he refuses to view it that way.

“If you think things are difficult, then they are,” Dunphy said at A-10 Media Day last month. “And if you think things are unique and different, then that’s what they are. And for me, that’s what it is.”

The men’s basketball team will certainly have a different feel this season.

Dunphy brings a much calmer demeanor
to the sideline than Chaney. Dunphy’s man-to-man defense has replaced Chaney’s infamous matchup zone.

And according to team captain Dion Dacons, the former Penn coach has instilled a new attitude.

“You’ve got guys coming in an hour early for practice, which hasn’t been in the past,” Dacons said.

“Practice is a lot more intense, a lot more physical than it had been in the past. It seems like guys are more ready to play than we had in the past. We feel more like a team right now.”

Despite Dunphy’s qualifications – 310 wins and 10 Ivy League Championships in 17 seasons at Penn – A-10 coaches and media don’t seem to think Dunphy can make a conference title run with his current players.

They picked the Owls to finish ninth in the conference.

Some have even questioned Dunphy’s ability to transform the Owls, claiming he doesn’t have enough experience recruiting scholarship players.

Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli, who said he speaks with Dunphy almost daily, scoffed at this notion. “The guy is as good a basketball coach as there is in the country,” Martelli said.

“He recruited scholarship players to go to an Ivy League school, convinced their families to pay – what $20,000? – even if they got loans and all the other stuff.

” … I think that we have national power in our league Martelli added that Dunphy clean slate and is free to construct fashion he desires.

So, Dunphy has conference schedule tough, it full of major-conference once did.

Plus, his scheduling is limited by the agreement with Conference, which men’s and women’s teams to play opponents this “That Chaney’s philosophy, mantra, and phenomenal
at said. “So I that regard, going to do different way, we’ll give a great to what we’ll Staley, on hand, has borrowed Chaney’s philosophy. Games against Rutgers and reigning national champion Maryland an ambitious schedule.

The schedule how much Staley’s improved since Kristen Foley in As Staley built perennial A-10 contender, such as Marist, Rider disappeared from in favor powerhouses Tennessee, Georgia State.

With a tougher games expectations.

Now a senior, Kamesha standards rise from winning a lengthy run in the NCAA “Winning the A-10 is three in a row,” Hairston said.

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