Football team adds Addazio

Former Florida assistant coach replaces Al Golden.

On Dec. 13, Al Golden was introduced in South Beach as the next coach of Miami’s football team. Ten days later, Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw introduced Steve Addazio as the next coach of the football team.

Addazio, the offensive coordinator at Florida for the past two seasons, comes to North Broad Street with an abundance of experience. Before running the Gators’ offense, Addazio coached Florida’s offensive linemen and tight ends for three years while also serving as the program’s assistant head coach since 2008.

Before arriving in Gainesville, Addazio served as the offensive coordinator at Indiana and the offensive line coach at Notre Dame and Syracuse. Prior to entering the collegiate ranks, Addazio was the head coach at Cheshire High School in Connecticut, where his team once won 34 straight games.

Underneath Golden, the Owls won 27 games over the course of five years, including 26 over the last four. Because of Golden’s success, searching for his replacement was a different experience than the one that led to Golden’s.

“It was a completely different search,” Bradshaw said. “Five years ago, there was absolutely no question in my mind that Al Golden was the only person that could do what he did and take the program where he did. It was predictable that he was only going to be a term coach, in my opinion. I knew that he would hand it off the way he did. It was just as clear to me that in this search, we needed somebody that understood this was a different task, a different challenge.”

“We needed somebody that understood where we were and had the experiences to take us onward and upward,” Bradshaw added. “That was what impressed me with Coach Addazio.”

Other than Addazio, the Owls were rumored to have pursued Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie, among others. All of the candidates had experience, but what set Addazio apart were his intangibles, Bradshaw said. Addazio was not available for comment.

“The kind of characteristics we were looking for in a coach were integrity, work ethic and most of all, the understanding of what it would take [to bring] Temple to the next level, which we believe coach Addazio had more than anybody,” Bradshaw said.

In Addazio’s first season as Florida’s offensive coordinator, the Gators led the Southeastern Conference in total offense while leading the nation in passing efficiency. Florida was the only team in the nation to pass for more than 3,000 yards while also rushing for more than 3,000 yards.

During his time as offensive coordinator, Addazio also retained his duties as the team’s offensive line coach, which helped senior center Maurkice Pouncey win the Rimington Trophy.

Pouncey was a first-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2010 National Football League draft. Pouncey was hardly Addazio’s first NFL prospect as the Farmington, Conn., native has directly coached 25 future NFL players.

Off the field, Addazio has a reputation as one of the nation’s best recruiters. In early 2010, shortly after Florida coach Urban Meyer took a leave of absence, leaving Addazio as the program’s interim head coach, Addazio was named the National Recruiter of the Year by ESPN.com.

While at Florida, Addazio served as the lead recruiter in securing commitments from prospects such as Will Hill, a safety who recently declared for the NFL draft, Aaron Hernandez, currently the starting tight end for the New England Patriots and Shariff Floyd, a defensive tackle from Philadelphia’s George Washington High School who was recently named to the SEC’s All-Freshman squad.

“Urban Meyer said to me that we now have the best recruiter in the country in Steve Addazio,” Bradshaw said. “Most coaches are pretty good with X’s and O’s. I’d like to think that with Steve’s experiences at Notre Dame, Indiana, Syracuse and two national championships at Florida that he absolutely knows the X’s and O’s and knows what to do. The difference would be at recruiting, what kind of young men we can now recruit and the skill sets they bring.”

Golden changed the football team from a perennial loser to a program that has contended for the Mid-American Conference championship the last two seasons.

With Addazio, success will be measured by whether or not he can capture a conference title and how far he can take the Owls in the grand scheme of things. While the program’s future success is up in the air, one thing is for certain – Bradshaw thinks he found his man.

“Coach Addazio was convincing in the vision he had for what Temple could be,” Bradshaw said. “He had a great understanding of what Al Golden did. A great respect and appreciation of what Al Golden did. He had an even greater vision of what the program could be and where he could take us.”

Kyle Gauss can be reached at kyle.gauss@temple.edu.

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