As Temple University enters the last football season of the 2010s, Manny Diaz becomes its fifth coach of the decade.
Athletic director Patrick Kraft and President Richard Englert introduced Diaz, the former University of Miami defensive coordinator, as the Owls’ 28th coach on Thursday at the Liacouras Center.
The previous four Temple coaches — Al Golden, Steve Addazio, Matt Rhule and Geoff Collins — left for jobs in Power Five conferences. Collins became the coach at Georgia Tech last week after two seasons with the Owls.
Despite the turnover, Temple has succeeded. All four of Diaz’s predecessors coached bowl games, and Temple has been bowl eligible in eight of the past 10 seasons. Kraft will deal with the turnover and coach searches if Temple continues to have success, he said.
“If we get on the stage of the Fiesta Bowl and there’s confetti all around us, and he’s like, ‘Hey, man my dream job is open,’ ‘Thank you. I want your family to be happy,’ just like I told Geoff and Matt,” Kraft said. “Thanks, we’ll do this all over again.”
Coaches want to come to Temple and want to coach at the school, Kraft said. Though he declined to comment on specific details of the national search, which was aided by talent recruitment firm Turnkey Search, Kraft said he received more interested in the position than when Rhule left in 2016.
Kraft understands the narrative of coaches leaving after short stints, he said, but wants to focus on what Diaz can help the program accomplish instead of worrying about when he’ll leave.
“We have done amazing things, but we there’s so much more that we have in front of us to achieve,” Kraft said. “We’ve not gotten a New Year’s Six bowl.”
During the coaching search, past and former players weighed in on Twitter, advocating for both interim coach Ed Foley and former Temple assistant Francis Brown because they thought both would be likely to stay at Temple for long periods of time.
Foley is in his 11th season at Temple and has remained at the school through several coaching changes. He interviewed for the head job for the first time this season and will coach the Owls against Duke University in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 27.
Two years ago, Foley coached Temple in the Military Bowl before Collins retained him on his staff. Kraft hopes Foley gets to stay on Diaz’s staff.
Foley is the “perfect” coach to lead the Owls during bowl preparation, and players are more focused going into the Independence Bowl than they were heading into the Military Bowl two years ago, he added.
As he builds his staff, Diaz said “there are several key coaches” he wants to get in place to solidify the Owls’ recruiting class with the early 72-hour signing period beginning next Wednesday. He largely wants to focus on getting the right people for his systems rather than filling spots quickly, he said.
“Ed is one of my favorite people, and I’m not going to make any call on staff or anything,” Kraft said. “But Manny knows who Ed Foley is and his passion for this program and for the players and vice versa.”
Just like when Temple hired Collins, the university chose a coach with no past connection to the university. When Brown wasn’t among reported final candidates on Wednesday, redshirt-junior linebacker Chapelle Russell tweeted that players’ opinions “must not matter in this situation.”
“Bring somebody in [that’s] going to build something with his players and come to this University for what it is not use it as a launch pad,” redshirt-sophomore defensive end Quincy Roche tweeted on Tuesday. “I [don’t] want my little bros going through the [same thing].”
Diaz met with the players on Thursday morning at Edberg-Olson Hall. As he watched from the back of the room, Kraft watched Diaz and the players get comfortable with each other after a few minutes, he said.
Building trust with the players comes down to integrity, Diaz said.
“What players want is consistency,” he said. “They want to know that what you stand for is not going to change, if they come in this day, that it’s going to be the same thing as it was the last day, if something happens during the season where we meet adversity, that all the sudden a new coach isn’t waiting for them on the other side.”