The seniors graduating – and the fifth-year seniors, like me – have seen quite a bit in our years following Temple Athletics.
Here’s one man’s ranking of the Top 10 most memorable moments from the last five years. Since most of us aren’t avid followers of Temple’s non-revenue sports, I’ve limited the list to the revenue generators.
10. Mardy Collins injured, March 14, 2006.
This is memorable simply because it was so scary. Collins took a hard fall while driving for a layup late in the Owls’ National Invitational Tournament game against Akron. Collins stayed on the Liacouras Center hardwood with a neck injury until a stretcher exited him from his final game.
With no one certain of his condition, assistant coach Dan Leibovitz addressed the media, his voice barely a whisper. Thankfully, Collins’ injury was not severe. He was drafted by the New York Knicks a couple months later.
9. Connecticut shocks football, Sept. 15, 2007.
The referees goofed in 2007. A should-have-been touchdown for Temple in the game’s final minute was called incomplete, resulting in a turnover on downs and a 22-17 UConn win. The controversial play was reviewed but not overturned.
8. Women’s basketball team completes trifecta, March 6, 2006.
Featuring two of the program’s best players all time in Candice Dupree and Kamesha Hairston, the Owls spent the entire season in the national rankings and won their third consecutive Atlantic Ten Conference Tournament title.
7. Football team wins…finally, Oct. 28, 2006.
Dumping the water cooler on the coach is usually a ritual reserved for championship celebrations. Well, here, the football team acts differently.
So, when Temple snapped its 20-game losing streak by beating Bowling Green, 28-14, Al Golden received what one local sportscaster unwittingly dubbed, “a Golden Shower.”
6. Fran Dunphy hired, April 10, 2006.
Dunphy’s welcoming press conference was rather bland compared to the retirement announcement of John Chaney.
But Temple could not have picked a better replacement for the legendary Chaney. Dunphy, unlike many collegiate coaches, knows where the focus should be – the players. The man didn’t watch the NCAA Selection Sunday show with his players and the media because he wanted them, not him, to be the story. That’s refreshing.
5. Women’s basketball earns first-ever national ranking, Jan. 24, 2005.
The Owls reeled off the nation’s longest winning streak that season (25 games), including the school’s first upset of a Top 25 team since 1989, and established a program-best 28-4 record. Behind Ari Moore, Cynthia Jordan and Dupree, Temple won its second straight A-10 tourney and advanced to the NCAA’s second round, the furthest the Owls have ever gotten.
4. Football finishes season winless, Nov. 19, 2005.
Playing its first season since getting the boot from the Big East Conference and not yet a full member of the Mid-American Conference, Temple faced a grueling schedule that featured eight teams that had played in bowl games the season before.
This debacle of a season featured seven players being declared academically ineligible just days before the season opener, four losses by more than 45 points and coach Bobby Wallace announcing he wouldn’t seek a contract renewal while several games remained.
3. John Chaney sends in the goon, Feb. 22, 2005.
Temple found the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
The recap: Angered by Saint Joseph’s use of what he deemed illegal screens, Chaney sent in little-used Nehemiah Ingram to throw some hard fouls at the Hawks. One of Ingram’s fouls broke the arm of the Hawks’ John Bryant. Chaney ended up with a five-game suspension and another scar on his reputation.
2. Men’s basketball wins A-10 Tournament, March 15, 2008.
It was a Big 5 enthusiast’s dream, except for the fact the game was played in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. Temple versus St. Joe’s. Winner gets the A-10 title and a trip to the NCAAs.
In the third game of this season’s thrilling series – each of the two previous games was determined in the final minute – the Owls finally expunged their struggles against their cross-town rival.
1. John Chaney Retires, March 13, 2006.
A Liacouras Center room was packed with a crowd of past and current players, opposing coaches, media and fans. The face of Temple Athletics, John Chaney, was saying goodbye.
Of course, saying anything was never a quick conversation for Chaney. His rants were one of the many reasons he was so beloved here. His commitment to players who might not have received opportunities elsewhere was another.
One of his most popular ‘Chaneyisms,’ and a personal favorite, applies to those of us graduating next week.
“Don’t just dream. Be the dream.”
John Kopp can be reached at email@example.com.