The guest speaker at the Feb. 27 Temple Student Government general assembly meeting decided to do more than give a speech.
He decided to stand at the doorway and greet every representative with a handshake as they entered the meeting room. He decided to introduce himself to each student, despite the fact that nearly everyone already knew who he was.
“Hi, I’m Al Golden,” he said. “What’s your name?”
Golden, Temple’s new head football coach, visited the general assembly to discuss his plans for making the team more competitive and for improving school spirit. He said it is important that the mission of the football team matches the expectations of the student body.
“One thing that I’m trying to do now is bring in really good student-athletes,” Golden said. “When you put a microphone in front of a Temple football player, I want him to represent you.”
Golden said many of his recruits were involved in student government at their high schools. He said he expects improvement on the field and in the classroom.
“If you see a football player [in class] and he is not sitting in the first row, let me know,” Golden said. “We’re not perfect, but I’ll promise you this: If a player misses a class, I’ll have him out on the field at 5:30 [a.m. ] the next morning.”
Golden also said he wants to create a large, enthusiastic fan base at football games similar to the atmosphere seen at men’s basketball games.
Golden, who spent the past five seasons as the defensive coordinator at the University of Virginia, said it is important for fans to make sporting events fun to attend. Creating a positive atmosphere at sporting events will give students “something to come back to” after graduating.
“Right now you are this close to having a phenomenal university,” Golden said. “The piece of the pie that is missing is school spirit.”
Sophomore Paulo Devito agreed.
“One of the problems we have at this school is getting alumni to come back,” he said. “He has some good ideas on improving school spirit and I’m really excited that he is open to working with the students.”
Golden suggested that student organizations bring their members to games and hold events. He said students at the University of Virginia and at Boston College – where he was the linebacker coach from 1997 to 1999 – would establish new traditions at games, like wearing the same T-shirt or creating new chants.
“At any university, it just takes bright young people to get something started,” Golden said.
Students suggested holding a banquet for fans at the end of the year and inviting local high school bands to perform during games. Sophomore Cedric Hall said the administration could use billboards and advertising on SEPTA to promote games.
Golden said he was open to student ideas for marketing and school spirit.
“I said, ‘I know what I don’t want to do. Whatever they did before, I don’t want to do,'” Golden said, drawing laughter from the general assembly.
“They didn’t win before,” Golden said. “Let’s try to do something unique and start winning.”
Tyson McCloud can be reached at email@example.com.