Negotiations underway for McKie to succeed Dunphy

Coach Fran Dunphy watches his team during its 63-57 loss to Penn State in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament at the Bryce Jordan Center on March 14. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / FILE PHOTO

The all-time winningest coach in Big 5 history will have one more year on North Broad Street to add to his win total.

Fran Dunphy, who has led the Owls since the 2006-07 season, will step down after the 2018-19 season and be succeeded by assistant coach Aaron McKie. The Athletic first reported the news on Friday.

Negotiations to facilitate the move are ongoing, the Inquirer reported on Saturday.

The report comes after pressure from fans and boosters on the athletic department to fire Dunphy after Temple missed the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the past five seasons.

Once promoted, McKie will have served at Temple in three capacities: player, assistant and coach. He averaged 17.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game from 1991-94 and won the Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year award as a sophomore.

McKie averaged 20.5 points per game in four NCAA Tournament games during the Owls’ Elite Eight run in the 1992-93 season.

McKie joined Temple’s staff in August 2014 after working for six years as an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers. He played 57 games for Philadelphia in the 1997-98 season after the Detroit Pistons traded him in a deal that involved two-time NBA All-Star Jerry Stackhouse.

McKie then spent the next seven seasons with the 76ers. After the Portland Trail Blazers selected McKie with the 17th pick in the 1994 NBA Draft, he played in the NBA from 1994-2007 and won the Sixth Man of the Year award for the 2000-01 season.

McKie had a large role in recruiting Temple’s current freshman class. Forward De’Vondre Perry told The Temple News last February that he was first recruited by former assistant Dwayne Killings, who left Temple in 2016. Once McKie started recruiting Perry, the two “clicked from day one,” Perry said.

Freshman guard Nate Pierre-Louis said last year that he and McKie have had a “tight-knit relationship” since his sophomore year of high school. When McKie attended Pierre-Louis’s games during live periods — times when the NCAA allows college coaches to watch high school players — Pierre-Louis called McKie for advice after each game, he added.

Both players contributed primarily off the bench in the 2017-18 season. Pierre-Louis played in 27 games and averaged 9.9 points per game in American Athletic Conference play. Perry played 31 games, which included a 15-point performance against nationally ranked Wichita State on Feb. 15.

Once McKie becomes the coach in the 2018-19 season, Perry, Pierre-Louis and forwards J.P. Moorman II and Justyn Hamilton will be juniors. Quinton Rose, who led Temple in scoring in the 2017-18 season, would be a senior, but it isn’t guaranteed he’ll still be at Temple.

Rose will declare for this year’s NBA Draft without hiring an agent, ESPN reported on Friday, to test the professional waters while retaining his college eligibility. If he withdraws his name from this year’s draft and returns to Temple, a strong 2018-19 season could position Rose to leave Temple for the NBA.

Temple’s 2017-18 season ended in a 63-57 loss to Penn State in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament on March 14. The Owls finished the season 17-16 overall and 8-10 in The American.

Penn State erased an 11-point third-quarter deficit in its first step to winning the NIT championship.

“The coach can give you the game plan, it’s about executing it,” junior center Ernest Aflakpui said after the loss. “The coach is not going to be on the court playing for you. So I think they do a good job putting us in the best position to win. It’s up to us to play hard and do it for each other and get the win.”

After finishing out the 2017-18 regular season by losing four of their last five games, the Owls’ last hope of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament was to win their conference tournament to earn an automatic bid.

The Owls beat Tulane in the first round of the conference tournament, but they lost to Wichita State in the quarterfinals.

During his 12-year tenure at Temple, Dunphy has a 247-152 record. He has an overall record of 557-315 after coaching at Penn for 17 seasons. He is one of only five coaches to win 200 games at two Division I programs and lead each school to six or more NCAA Tournaments.

Between his time at Penn and Temple, Dunphy has coached in 19 NCAA Tournament games and has a 3-16 record. Dunphy last coached in the NCAA Tournament during the 2015-16 season. Temple lost, 72-70, in overtime to the University of Iowa in a matchup between 10th-seeded Temple and the seventh-seeded Hawkeyes.

The Owls have finished in the middle of the conference the past two seasons. They have combined for 33 wins in the past two seasons, which is one game above .500 and ties the worst two-year win total in the Dunphy era.

“I think it was time for a change anyways,” Micheal Eric, who played for Dunphy from 2008-12, tweeted on Sunday. “He had hell of a run. He need [sic] that vacation package ASAP.”

Evan Easterling
can be reached at evan.easterling@temple.edu Or you can follow Evan on Twitter @Evan_Easterling Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

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