McKie set to take reigns of Temple men’s basketball

Aaron McKie will be officially introduced as the Owls’ new coach on Tuesday.

Then-associate head coach Aaron McKie looks toward the court during the Owls’ 78-73 win against Central Florida at the Liacouras Center on March 9. | JUSTIN OAKES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

It’s not often that three Philadelphia college basketball icons are in the same room. And it’s even less frequent for all three to be at center court.

But John Chaney and Fran Dunphy will both gather at midcourt at McGonigle Hall on Tuesday to pass the torch to Aaron McKie.

Temple University will officially announce McKie as its next men’s basketball coach on Tuesday afternoon at center court of McGonigle Hall, where McKie played college basketball from 1991-94 for Temple.

McKie will replace Dunphy, whose 13-year career at Temple ended with a 81-70 loss to Belmont University in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament on March 19 in Dayton, Ohio.

Chaney, Dunphy and former Owls players will be in attendance to watch McKie to introduced as the Owls’ coach at a press conference at 2:30 p.m. 

McKie — who played on three NCAA Tournament teams during his Temple career, including the 1992-93 Elite Eight squad — is tasked with returning the Owls to their past as a consistent tournament contender. The Owls won two NCAA Tournament games in Dunphy’s tenure and last appeared in the Elite Eight in 2001.

McKie joined Dunphy’s staff and returned to his alma mater as an assistant back in August 2014. After the 2017-18 season, Temple promoted McKie from assistant coach to associate head coach and announced he’d replace Dunphy following the 2018-19 season.

“Coaching is for me because I enjoy being around the game of basketball and sharing the game and my experiences with the guys,” McKie said before the season. “College coaching never really crossed my mind, but it was an opportunity that presented itself years ago and here I am.”

Temple has two players committed to join McKie’s squad next season. Damian Dunn, a senior guard at Meadowcreek High School in Georgia, signed his National Letter of Intent in November. Dunn averaged 12.6 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game in his final high school season.

Josh Pierre-Louis, the brother of sophomore guard Nate Pierre-Louis, verbally committed to Temple on Friday after decommitting from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Josh Pierre-Louis can’t sign a National Letter of Intent until the regular signing period begins on April 17. Josh Pierre-Louis averaged 14.2 points and 3.4 assists per game as a senior.

McKie could still add another recruit or transfer to the roster.

Temple will lose point guard Shizz Alston Jr., who tied for first in the American Athletic Conference in scoring as a senior. But the Owls will still have junior guard Quinton Rose and Nate Pierre-Louis, who both averaged more than 13 points per game.

“We have to build the chemistry and everything with our returning players,” junior guard Alani Moore II said on March 17. “That’s going to be very key for us. McKie has been talking with us about getting us ready for next year following off of Dunphy.”

Though Dunphy is finished coaching at Temple, McKie believes he will still rely heavily on his former colleague and mentor, he said.

“I think [Dunphy is] always going to be a resource for me,” McKie added. “He’s a ‘Hall of Fame’ coach. I’ve learned a great deal from him, just being here at this program, just sitting and watching him work day to day.”

McKie has made his mark on Philadelphia basketball on the high school, college and professional levels.

He starred at Simon Gratz High School in Nicetown before going to Temple. McKie started 92 games, averaging 17.9 points per game while leading Temple to 60 wins from 1991-94.

In 1993, McKie was named Atlantic 10 Conference and Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Year, averaging a team and conference-best 20.6 points per game.

McKie — the 17th pick in the 1994 NBA Draft — came back to Philadelphia during the 1997-98 season in a trade to the 76ers. Following his playing career, McKie spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the 76ers before returning to Temple.

President Richard Englert and Athletic Director Patrick Kraft will introduce McKie, who will become Temple’s fifth coach since 1952.

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