Barely 20 minutes into his interview of Al Golden for the football team’s head coaching vacancy on Nov. 6, director of athletics Bill Bradshaw scribbled four words into his notebook:
“This is our guy.”
Golden, defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Virginia, was announced at a press conference at the Liacouras Center today as the 24th Temple football coach. President David Adamany and Bradshaw trumpeted Golden’s expressed dedication to academics as well as athletics, while Golden promised a gathering of alumni, student-athletes, university employees and media members at the Liacouras Center that “we’re going to be able to recruit here.”
The hiring, which was finalized Sunday night, brought to an end the eight-week search spearheaded by the Board of Trustees and a specially-formed search committee led by Bradshaw and associate athletic director for external affairs Vic Cegles. In his first stint as a head coach at any level, Golden, 36, becomes the second-youngest head coach in Division I football.
Golden’s youth, Bradshaw said, did not detract from his status as the most qualified of the 30 or so candidates for the job.
“When we began our search, we didn’t know who we were looking for, but we knew what we were looking for,” Bradshaw said. “On Sunday, Nov. 6, halfway through our search, we met him in Charlottesville, Va.”
Upon being introduced today, Golden cited the recent modernization of the program – on-campus Edberg-Olson Hall and practice facility, Lincoln Financial Field as the venue for games, and membership in the Mid-American Conference – with luring him.
For a rising young coach with 18 years of experience as a player, high school or college coach, Golden said, the opportunity was an attractive one.
“With the direction I saw not just with the football program, but within the institution, I felt this was a time that I had to get on board,” Golden said.
Sources close to the search indicate Golden was given a 5-year contract. The department of athletics did not disclose his expected salary. Wallace, who announced Oct. 10 that he would not seek a renewal of his contract at the end of his eighth season here, is rumored to have made around $350,000 per year after receiving a 3-year extension in 2001. The average salary for a MAC coach is around $250,000.
The urban location of Main Campus, often blamed for the difficulties in recruiting elite high school athletes to Temple, will not limit the program from building a recruiting base from Boston to Washington, D.C., and from the Atlantic coast to Pittsburgh, Golden said. The number of junior college transfers will be lower than under previous coach Bobby Wallace, Golden said.
“We’re going to have ‘driving areas’ that are going to have our footprint,” Golden said. “We’re going to know every kid in this area.”
The football players who stood in the edges of the audience said they came away impressed with the new man they will call “Coach.”
“I am impressed, and I really can’t wait to get started,” said safety Keith Holt, who will be a true sophomore next season. “I’m excited. It’s a new beginning, which we needed, and a new positive feeling, even in the weight room.”
Ben Watanabe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.