Coaching candidates emerge to fill vacant football coach position

Candidates from within and outside the program are being considered to replace Matt Rhule.

Thursday afternoon, #LetItSnow was trending on Twitter in Philadelphia, despite no flakes falling from the sky. Instead of people celebrating a wintry precipitation, Temple players and fans were using the hashtag to show their support for defensive coordinator Phil Snow to become the next Owls’ head coach.

After helping the Owls record back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time in program history, Matt Rhule left for Baylor University on Tuesday. He took Defensive Backs Coach Francis Brown, Director of Player Personnel Evan Cooper, Linebackers Coach Mike Siravo and Associate Athletic Director Sean Padden with him. He signed a seven-year contract, according to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.

Athletic Director Pat Kraft said at a press conference on Tuesday that candidates from within and outside the program will be considered. Kraft said the search will be deliberate to ensure the Owls hire the right person, but Temple has already started gauging interest in the job.  Here are a few of the reported candidates:

Phil Snow, defensive coordinator Temple

Rhule was a graduate assistant at the University of California at Los Angeles in 2001, when Snow was the defensive coordinator. He called Snow the best football coach he’d been around. After playing quarterback in college, Snow became a defensive coach in 1976. He has coached at Power 5 schools like Arizona State University and the University of Washington and in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. Temple’s defense ranks third in the FBS in yards allowed per game and second in passing yards allowed per game. “Coach Snow, the defensive coordinator, is one of the most respected defensive coaches in the country,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said at a press conference the day before Temple’s conference championship win. “They are tough, hard-nosed. His defenses have always been really good.”

Bobby Wilder, head coach Old Dominion University

Wilder has been the head coach at Old Dominion since 2007. He helped the Monarchs transition from the Football Championship Series to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2014. Wilder led Old Dominion to an 11-13 record in its first two years in the FBS. The Monarchs finished 9-3 this season. Wilder spent 17 years as an assistant at the University of Maine from 1990-2007 before he arrived at Old Dominion. Wilder has also met with Temple, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

Ed Foley, tight ends and special teams coach Temple

Foley will be the Owls’  interim head coach for the Military Bowl against Wake Forest University on Dec. 27. He has been at Temple since 2008, coaching under Rhule and former head coaches Al Golden and Steve Addazio. Foley has coached at six other schools, including two stints at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1990s. He spent seven seasons at Fordham University, where he was the offensive coordinator from 1999-2003 under Dave Clawson, the current Wake Forest coach. Foley replaced Clawson as head coach in 2004 and 2005. The Rams went 7-15 in those two seasons.  “One of my very best friends in coaching, Ed Foley, was my offensive coordinator when I was at Fordham, was on the staff and so I always followed Temple in large part because of Ed and always root for them to do well,” Clawson said on a teleconference on Dec. 4.

Terry Smith, defensive recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach Penn State

Smith worked at Gateway High School in Monroeville, Pennsylvania for 12 years, spending 11 as head football coach and 10 as athletic director, until leaving to become Temple’s wide receivers coach in January 2013. With Smith as the wide receivers coach, Temple set a single-season passing yards record in 2013 with 2,996 yards. The Owls beat that mark in 2015 with 3,037 yards and can break it again with 110 yards against Wake Forest. He received support on Twitter from freshman defensive back Kareem Gaulden and sophomore defensive back Delvon Randall, who played for Smith at Gateway.

John DeFilippo, quarterbacks coach Philadelphia Eagles

DeFilippo is in his first year as the Eagles’ quarterback coach. He previously spent time as the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator in 2015 and as the Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach from 2012-14. DeFilippo played his high school football in the suburbs of Philadelphia at Radnor High School and later played at James Madison University. The Inquirer reported on Saturday that Temple had reached out to DeFilippo.

Joe Moorhead, offensive coordinator Penn State

Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead was considered to be a potential candidate for the job, but Yahoo Sports columnist Pat Forde reported on Saturday that he will remain at Penn State for the 2017 season. This season was Moorhead’s 19th in coaching and first at Penn State. Before going to Happy Valley, he spent four years as the head coach at Fordham. He led the Rams to their best season in program history in 2013 and followed it with a Patriot League title in 2014. Under Moorhead, Fordham earned its first two victories against Football Bowl Subdivision schools, including a 30-29 win against Temple in September 2013 at Lincoln Financial Field. This season, the Nittany Lions ranked No. 34 in the FBS total yards on their way to an 11-2 record and Big Ten title win.

Charlie Strong, former head coach University of Texas

Strong talked with Temple officials about the job, the Inquirer’s Marc Narducci reported on Thursday, but reached an agreement to become South Florida’s head coach on Sunday, ESPN”s Chris Low reported. Strong led the Longhorns to a 16-21 record in three seasons. Before arriving at Texas, Strong spent four years at the University of Louisville. He went 37-15 with the Cardinals, including a 23-3 record in his last two seasons.

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