As of yesterday, Temple still did not have a men’s basketball coach.
Fresh information on the university’s hunt for coach John Chaney’s replacement has not been released into the public light.
A report in the Philadelphia Inquirer last weekend said discussions between Temple Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw and Penn coach Fran Dunphy, who led the Quakers to a 15-seed in the NCAA Tournament this season, have progressed in the last week.
CBSSportsline.com reported that Dunphy has consulted with his lawyers about accepting the job and is optimistic about taking the position.
Dunphy, along with former Owls player and current Houston Rockets guard Rick Brunson, are the top two candidates to replace Chaney.
The number of meetings between Dunphy and Bradshaw has not been disclosed. It is known that Dunphy has interviewed for the position and that he visited Temple early last week.
While The Temple News reported last week that Dunphy had been offered the job, Bradshaw has said the position remains vacant. At this point, though, details of a possible contract between Dunphy and Temple could be down to particulars, the Philadelphia Daily News reported yesterday.
According to the Inquirer, the approval of President David Adamany – and not that of Temple’s Board of Trustees – is required for any new coaching hire. Adamany was believed to be out of the country last week, and has since returned.
While the university’s talks with Dunphy have progressed, it is believed that several former Temple basketball players are pressuring the university to hire Brunson.
Though Brunson has never coached – Bradshaw has said he would prefer hiring a candidate with sideline experience – the pro basketball player’s name continues to surface as a possible replacement for his former Temple coach.
Brunson was quoted last week in the Houston Chronicle as saying he has always wanted to be a coach. Being Chaney’s successor would be no different, he said.
“I’ve always wanted to be a coach; I never wanted to play basketball professionally,” Brunson said in the Chronicle’s report. “I happened to get lucky and made a career out of it, but my decision was to be a college coach when I was in college. But I got sidetracked with this.”
Despite numerous attempts to reach Brunson by telephone last week, he was unavailable for comment.
Though Dunphy is believed to be the favorite for the position, Brunson’s Houston Rockets teammate Rafar Alston endorsed the former Temple star, likening him to other former pro players who have gone on to coaching careers.
“You have your Avery Johnsons, Nate McMillians and now, [you have] Rick: guys that were heady and steady ballplayers but yet had tons of knowledge of the game,” Alston told the Chronicle last week.
Temple assistant coach Dan Leibovitz, who was also interviewed as a potential replacement for Chaney, is receiving interest elsewhere. An Inquirer report revealed that Northeastern University wants to talk to Leibovitz about its vacant men’s basketball job. A source in Temple’s Athletic Department, who made it clear last week that Leibovitz had yet to be contacted by Northeastern about the position, confirmed the Boston school’s interest in Leibovitz.
Bradshaw said last week in an interview with The Temple News that none of Chaney’s assistant coaches’ jobs are secure for the 2006-07 season. But it is believed that Leibovitz would be retained under the new head coach.
Through the Athletic Department representative, Leibovitz declined comment on the position. An announcement on the Northeastern position could come as early as this week.
ON THE RECRUITING TRAIL
Neumann-Goretti’s Earl Pettis, who has expressed interest in continuing his playing career at Temple, turned in a strong showing at last weekend’s All-Star Labor Classic, which pits Philadelphia’s best high school basketball players against those from schools in the suburbs.
The 6-5 senior guard scored a game-high 18 points in the City All-Star’s 87-85 loss to the Suburban All-Stars. Pettis, who remains uncommitted to any college, averaged 12 points per game during the regular season. He is currently deciding between playing basketball on the Division I level, where he has received plenty of recruiting attention, or attending a prep school.
Jabari Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Christopher A. Vito contributed to this report.