Big 5 coaches, former players and other acquaintances roasted men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy last week for Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
“[This is] maybe the worst thing that ever happens to me,” men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy said at his roast on Wednesday, April 11.
Despite this, Dunphy sacrificed himself as the subject of jokes for a good cause. He said his main impetus to participate was to benefit the Temple chapter of Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
“My style is not to do this,” he told the audience after the roast. “It’s for a cause that I truly believe in.”
Friends and colleagues participated in roasting Dunphy, who has been coaching the Cherry and White since 2006, and has coached the Owls to five-straight NCAA tournament appearances.
Other attendees at the roast included former Temple coach John Chaney, Villanova coach Jay Wright and Philadelphia University coach Herb Magee, along with roasters, Drexel coach Bruiser Flint, former La Salle coach William ‘Speedy’ Morris, Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter Dick Jerardi and Comcast SportsNet anchor Michael Barkann.
The faculty and staff of Temple’s Fox School of Business and the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management organized the roast. Dunphy also teaches at Fox as an adjunct professor and is a board trustees member for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter. Master of Ceremonies for the roast was comedian, Philadelphia radio personality and Temple alumnus Joe Conklin.
“Thank God this dinner is being held in April because we know [Dunphy] doesn’t show up in March,” Conklin said to open the roast. “But the one good thing, Dunphy did pick up an endorsement after this year’s display, he’s the new spokesperson for pre-mature elimination.”
Keys to recruiting
Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia anchor Neil Hartman pointed out to those in attendance at the roast something he learned from watching an interview series called “Comfy with Dunphy,” by Rudy Mezzy, a 2011 alumnus. When Dunphy was asked who he would like to have dinner with, dead or alive, he said Queen Latifah.
“Dunphy, a Queen Latifah fan? I mean this guy will say anything to relate to his recruits,” Hartman said.
Later Hartman said what he believes is Dunphy’s secret to recruiting.
“When he’s meeting someone for the first time, he’ll say, ‘What part of the city are you from? What parish?’” Hartman said. “Then Dunphy talks about the priest he knows there, how to play basketball on the courts outside that church, he tells them how he’s from [Saint Dorothy Parish] in Drexel Hill, attended Malvern Prep, he’s been to every Big 5 school, yes he did spend a few days at St. Joe’s at one time and then he recruits their grandmother, the aunt, the sister and then of course the mom and an hour or later that kid is going to Temple.”
St. Joseph’s men’s basketball coach Phil Martelli took a shot at Temple’s junior guard Khalif Wyatt and referred to his lateness to team meetings during the past season.
“Dunphy is a liar,” Martelli said. “I asked you what time do you think we’re getting out of here and [Dunphy] said 9 p.m. because I couldn’t come here if John Chaney was going to speak, I had to get out of here before he started, did we have that conversation?”
“Well Christ almighty, it’s 9 p.m. Who’s keeping time at this thing, Khalif Wyatt? Timing issues Dunphy,” Martelli added.
Martelli concluded his remarks by praising his Big 5 colleague.
“This is absolutely positively impossible because everybody has said it,” Martelli said. “He’s as good a basketball coach as there is in the country. Dunphy is like a brother to everybody in this room and he’s made it his point to make everybody in this room believe that you’re his best friend and that’s nearly impossible, but he’s done it.”
Trip to the Dentist
Penn’s coach Jerome Allen, a former player of Dunphy’s from 1991 to 1995, is one of the program’s most recognized players.
Allen recalled a story about how he was worried to visit a dentist that Dunphy recommended.
“Now I’m looking at his mouth, remember this is 1991… everybody is going to take shots at the mustache, but there’s a reason why he had that mustache,” Allen said. “He sends me to his dentist and I am nervous. I hope my mouth doesn’t turnout like his, you got to understand his ‘stache covered something gross. There was one tooth and that’s all he had and it was like, as my 2-year-old son says, ‘dookie brown.’”
“Now [Dunphy] has porcelain venires and he smiles hard all the time,” Allen added.
Timeout with a Big Sister
The roast raised more than $30,000 through ticket sales and a silent auction to benefit the Big Brothers, Big Sisters chapter.
Big Sister and senior strategic communications major Hannah Disanto said through her four years with the program, she has seen its impact with her little sister.
“We’ve been matched for four years so it’s just like going and hanging out with her and we have so much fun,” Disanto said. “I can see the changes in her from when she was in third grade getting in trouble all the time until like now, she’s in seventh grade and she’s trying to be good, getting on sports teams and stuff. And to know that I was able to help her do that, it was just so awesome.”
Connor Showalter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.