For the first time since 2005, somebody other than Al Golden will be coaching the football team. The search for Golden’s successor ended this week as Steve Addazio, Florida’s offensive coordinator, was named the program’s 25th coach.
After Golden resigned to take the head coaching position at the University of Miami on Dec. 12, the athletic department focused its attention to finding a coach to build upon Golden’s success. The position was originally offered to defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio, but D’Onofrio decided to accept the same position underneath Golden at Miami.
The coaching search then spanned 10 days, including five days of interviewing. Addazio reportedly beat out ESPN analyst and former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie, Temple offensive coordinator Matt Rhule and Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, amongst others. Despite the relatively quick turnaround, the athletic department did not rush to hire a coach, athletic director Bill Bradshaw said.
“Our only timetable was to find the right person,” Bradshaw said. “That’s how long the search would last, despite the obvious pressure surrounding us on the calendar.”
“Each search for a head coach is different, but the desired outcome is always the same,” Bradshaw added.
Addazio was part of two national championship teams while at Florida, but was not offensive coordinator during that time. In 2009, his first year as offensive coordinator, the Gators ranked 13th in the nation with 34.7 points per game. This season, the Gators fell to 29.3 points per game, but also graduated players such as Tim Tebow and Riley Cooper the offseason before.
Approximately 30 Temple players, including sophomore running back Bernard Pierce and junior defensive end Adrian Robinson, attended the press conference. During the press conference, Addazio displayed passion and even teared up at one point. Before Addazzio was introduced to the public, the 51-year-old spoke with the players.
“We had like a 15 minute meeting before this press conference and we can’t wait to get back [to work],” junior safety Kevin Kroboth said. “We want to get started. As you saw in the press conference, he’s an energetic guy. He seems like a players coach. He loves us. He’s going to really take his time and build this program to be better than it was.”
“[We got] a great vibe, honestly,” junior offensive lineman Pat Boyle added. “He fired me up.”
While at Florida, Addazio ran a spread offense, an offensive alignment that usually features the quarterback in shotgun formation with a minimum of three wide receivers spread out across the field. The formation is designed to open up seams for both the passing and running game to exploit. Despite having had success in the offense, Addazio has not decided what he will run at Temple.
“I think what’s most important when you come into a program is evaluate your personnel,” Addazio said. “You don’t want to put a round peg into a square hole. I want to evaluate our players….I want to make sure we have the ability to run the football, and we want to be tough.”
“We want to be attacking,” Addazio added. “We want to be aggressive. We want to run the football. We want to swarm to the football. We want to play with a relentless mindset.”
Temple fans will have to wait until after Florida’s Jan. 1 bowl game against Penn State before seeing what the new coach is capable of. Addazio felt he owed it to his former players to coach them in the Outback Bowl. After that, Addazio will have to focus on recruiting, as Golden did not have a full recruiting class compiled before he left. On top of that, a couple of recruits have dcommitted from the Owls in the past few weeks, including Olsen Pierre, who followed Golden down to Miami.
During Golden’s tenure, the program had a reputation for community service and discipline, for the most part, off the field. That won’t change underneath Addazio, he said.
“We’re going to embrace tradition, embrace Philadelphia, the alumni and this great university, and we’re going to represent it with great integrity,” Addazio said.
Kyle Gauss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org