On Friday, Amanda Janney will finish packing up her office, and prepare to head nearly 700 miles west to what she considers a larger program with more opportunity.
Yesterday, a scheduled team meeting between the field hockey coach and her team ended with the announcement that Janney would be resigning from her coaching position at Temple in order to take a head coaching job with Indiana University.
In an interview with The Temple News, Janney said her decision hinged on a step up in conference prestige.
“The thought of a big-time conference was really appealing to me,” Janney said. “I think [the Hoosiers] just need someone to get them out of the bottom of the Big Ten, back into the NCAA tournament.”
After her announcement, Janney left the team meeting, leaving associate head coach Kelly Driscoll to go over the team’s transition from eight-hour practice weeks to the 20-hour weeks that begin in the spring.
Despite not having time to say goodbye at the meeting, some players approached Janney afterward to speak to the departing coach, while others plan to catch up with her before she leaves.
“She was in her office so I personally went up and gave her a hug,” junior forward Tricia Light said. “I said, ‘Good luck in what you’re doing in the future,’ and I thanked her for everything she had given me as a student-athlete.”
“I am going to go see her before Friday,” junior forward Alyssa Delp added. “She pretty much got me where I am today, when I do talk to her I am going to express that to her. She’s given all of us a shot at a great education and just a really good outlet on how to be student athletes.”
While players said they were surprised by Janney’s decision, they do not believe the coaching turnover will affect the day-to-day operations of the team headed into spring practices.
“I definitely think that things aren’t going to hiccup,” Delp said. “This team knows how important spring is to being effective in the fall,” Delp said. “We really don’t have any choice.”
Janney said Indiana’s athletic department reached out to her a few weeks ago regarding its vacant head coaching position, and accepted a job in a conference that currently holds 17 of the last 33 NCAA championship finalists.
Additionally, the Big Ten boasts nine schools that rank in the Top 40 of the ratings percentage index, more than any other conference.
While Indiana offers the conference pedigree and an opportunity to play numerous powerhouse programs, the Owls rank 23 spots ahead of Indiana in the RPI, currently sitting at No. 11.
While they understand the entire conference’s impressive status, because of the large disparity in rankings, two players interviewed yesterday considered the job more of an equivalent position rather than an immediate step up.
“I think that Indiana would currently be more of a lateral move,” Light said. “We’ve done better in the past two seasons than them, but historically they are a very good team and a good program. That’s why they were looking for a new coach and for her, it seemed like a great opportunity to get them back to where they were. … The Big Ten has a lot more opportunities, currently Temple is trying to catch up to the Big Ten programs.”
Delp also considered the RPI when processing the coaching change.
“It definitely crossed my mind that we are a better team as of now just RPI-wise,” Delp said. “I can understand it, though. The Big Ten is a great network and there are better opportunities there.”
Compiling an overall record of 114-94 at Temple, including five double-digit seasons and two Atlantic-10 finals appearances, Janney will be leaving a program she helped build, which proved to be a challenging decision.
“It was very difficult leaving Temple,” Janney said. “To tell the team was extremely difficult because I recruited them and I really believe in what we’re doing here at Temple … It was really hard to leave because there are so many great things going on here.”
The search for Janney’s replacement is ongoing as the team enters its spring training with Driscoll at the helm.
“Coach Janney did a tremendous job during her tenure here at Temple University and we wish her well at Indiana,” Athletic Director Kevin Clark said in a press release announcing the resignation. “We are confident that the program, which is coming off consecutive Top 20 seasons, will attract high quality candidates for the head coaching position to continue this level of success.”
EJ Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter @ejsmitty17
Andrew Parent contributed reporting.