Study Session: Stories of the summer

Summer is almost here, but Temple Athletics never stops. What are the biggest questions heading into the summer?

Temple quarterback Evan Simon evades the rush in the Cherry and White game, but can he step up and be the starter in the fall? | LANDON STAFFORD / THE TEMPLE NEWS

This is it. This is the last “Study Session” I’ll ever write.

It’s a bittersweet feeling. On the one hand, it’s great to look back on what we, as The Temple News Sports’ staff, were able to produce this year and move onto new ventures. From Texas trips to taking over tailgates, this year was a great one for the team. On the other hand, I’ll certainly miss being under this banner.

In a way, all of Temple Athletics is at a similar point. The summer is nearly here, and it’s time to turn the page on yet another year as an athletic program. The 2023-24 academic year had historic ups and significant downs, but the department will have to put that aside and use the summer to reset.

There are still a few storylines to watch out for in the offseason: some teams are in the process of rebuilding, while others are established and ready to make some noise in the fall.

Temple fans may have to wait before hearing the first whistles kicking off the action at McGonigle Hall, Temple Sports Complex or Lincoln Financial Field, but here are the biggest stories to keep an eye on this summer.


Temple Football had a disappointing year in 2023, which was capped off when quarterback E.J. Warner transferred to conference rival Rice in December. The Owls had several players depart the program, but none matched the impact Warner made in such a short time.

Temple had five quarterbacks with an opportunity to take the program’s reins heading into the spring. Montana transfer Clifton McDowell re-entered the portal just weeks into his time on North Broad Street, and all four spring quarterbacks failed to make a strong enough impact this semester.

Head coach Stan Drayton feels his program hasn’t found a quarterback that’s ready to play Oklahoma on Aug. 30 in the season opener.

“I don’t know if our quarterbacks are ready for that yet,” Drayton said. “There’s not a whole lot of flinching that goes on in their approach. There were a couple of weeks we had the quarterbacks live, and they handled the pressure well. I just think that the development still needs to take place regardless of them taking command of the offense.”


Men’s and Women’s Basketball both found success during this academic year, as the women won the program’s first American Athletic Conference regular season championship and the men qualified for the program’s first AAC title game.

However, both teams lost significant parts of their rosters after the final buzzer. The men lost their three leading scorers to the transfer portal, and the women lost six players to either graduation or the portal.

“We’ve got some holes to fill,” said Women’s Basketball coach Diane Richardson. “Obviously, we’ve met by graduating so we have some holes to fill. We’ll be in the portal like every other coach in America, and then we’ll balance it out when we hit our needs.”

Men’s Basketball made a major step in the right direction, bringing in former New Mexico State guard Jamal Mashburn Jr. Women’s Basketball signed Felicia Jacobs-Abiola, a six-foot-two forward from London, boosting their frontcourt after losing forwards Rayne Tucker, Denise Solis and Ines Piper.

Both teams need experience at several levels, but the Women’s team is better equipped now to bring in a few players and be ready to compete. However, this offseason will mean significant turnover on each roster as both teams will try to find their new identities.


Temple Volleyball had its best season in six years during 2023, and the team brought in several key young players to mix with their older talent, leading to success. The Owls went toe-to-toe with the better teams in the AAC and finished fifth in the standings.

However, the team will now have an entirely different challenge: adapting to the NCAA’s new setting rules, which loosen the restrictions on double contacts.

The Owls lost their starting setter Patrycja Zielinska, who left the team this offseason. Setter Magdalena Rogalska could be the starter, but head coach Linda Hampton-Keith also has two young players in Lexi Yoza and Ava Blascziek who could compete for the spot.

Either way, Temple has a high ceiling in the AAC with returning outside hitter Taylor Davenport and right-side hitter Avery Luoma leading the charge. The Owls could use the new rules to their advantage and compete for an AAC crown.


Temple Field Hockey has found ways to compete in the Big East for the past few years; they just have not been able to win a championship.

The Owls have been to the quarterfinals of the conference tournament in consecutive years, but they lost both games in narrow fashion. They’ve had the talent to win a conference trophy, but they’ve fallen short in the most important games of the season.

This season’s search for a title will be harder than the last. The Owls will need to replace goalkeeper Molly Frey, back McKenna Burkhardt and midfielder Caitlyn Amsden, who are graduating after being focal points of the program for years.

Temple’s defense has been its strong point with head coach Michelle Vittese, and the Owls have the pieces to keep the tradition alive in 2024. However, they will need to find offensive pieces to relieve pressure from its defense and compete with the best of the best. This summer will be the perfect opportunity to iron out those roles without their former leaders.

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