Temple Athletics: 10 reasons why you should care about your Owls

With the men’s basketball team and women’s basketball team’s coming off NCAA Tournament berths, the football team returning after a decade of irrelevance, and school records being broken, now is a better time than ever to pay attention to what’s going on with the Cherry and White.

For the incoming freshmen and transfer students, we’ve got you covered when it comes to Temple athletics.

The beginning of the semester can be stressful as you move-in into residence halls, attend classes and get acclimated to the campus and its surroundings. We here at The Temple News are going to take some pressure off your transition by introducing you to Temple athletics with a top ten list that would make David Letterman proud.

men's basketball a-10 champs
The men’s basketball team celebrates their 2008 Atlantic Ten Conference Championship last March at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. (TTN File Photo)

1. “Return to Glory”
It’s a very exciting time for the men’s basketball program. Last season, the men earned their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2000-01 by beating city rival Saint Joseph’s University in the Atlantic Ten Conference Championship. They finished second in the A-10 regular season standings and will return all but one starter to the team this season. Expectations are high for Coach Fran Dunphy’s squad in 2008.

2. “Flying high”
The times when the football program was the butt of everyone’s jokes are over. Third-year coach Al Golden and company look to improve on a 4-8 record as they return all but one starter from last season. Watch out for the Owls defense, which continues to improve after leading the nation in redzone defense, and ranking 14th in third-down defense and 44th overall in total defense. A Mid-American Conference title is within reach.

3. “We want revenge”
You might see some students around campus wearing a white T-shirt that says “JUSTICE!” Don’t ask the meaning because it’s a touchy subject for all Owls fans. Last September 15th, Temple trailed 22-17 with a 4th-and-6 in University of Connecticut’s redzone. Senior quarterback Adam DiMichele handed the ball off to junior running back Jason Harper on a reverse, who then handed off to junior wide receiver Dy’Onne Crudup. Under pressure, Crudup tossed it into the back of the endzone, intending it for DiMichele. The ball was tipped and senior wide receiver Bruce Francis looked to catch it with a foot in bounds. The pass was originally ruled incomplete and then, after a review, the play stood. The two teams meet on Sept. 6 at Lincoln Financial Field.

4. “Quietly dominating”
It might not get the publicity of other sports, but the lacrosse team was arguably the most impressive program last season. With a 13-7 record and an A-10 regular seashhon title, the Owls earned a birth in the NCAA Tournament. Despite falling to Maryland in the first round, the Owls posted a successful season led by then-seniors Nicole Caniglia, Berkley Summerlin and Whitney Richards.

5. “Extreme Makeover: Women’s Basketball Edition”
There will be a whole new look for the program after the departure of esteemed coach Dawn Staley. Former Connecticut assistant Tonya Cardoza will replace the local legend, who spent eight years on North Broad Street. Also leaving is center Lady Comfort and guard Ashley Morris, two key members of a team that went to the NCAA Tournament last season. Look for junior guard LaKeisha Eaddy and senior center Shanea Cotton to take over as the leaders of the team as the Owls head into the 2008-09 season.

Amanda Cole
Senior Amanda Cole of the track and field team set the school record in both the indoor weight throw and the outdoor hammer throw last year. (TTN File Photo)

6. “Big Man on Campus”
Senior guard Dionte Christmas from the men’s basketball team is trying to improve on a season where he led the team in scoring at 19.7 points per game. He is a threat to score from
behind the three-point line and the clear go-to guy after the departure of senior guard Mark Tyndale. Another strong year for Christmas could mean a chance to get drafted into the NBA.

7. “Throwing Stones”
Senior Amanda Cole broke her own school record in the indoor weight throw with a distance of 52-2 ½ feet and also holds the school record for the outdoor hammer throw. Watch out this year as Cole tries to improve on her record.

8. “Who’s the best Hooter?”
Graduates Richie Blyweiss and Erik Johnson are leaving behind the suit meaning that a new Hooter, the university’s official mascot, will be kicking off the 2008-09 athletic season. The mascot will be at the football and basketball games entertaining the crowd. Keep your eye out for when Hooter leads the band.

9. “Ambler Annex”
While walking around campus, you might wonder why you don’t see a baseball or soccer field around. To find them, you have to head to the Ambler Campus in the suburbs of Philadelphia. It’s a distance away but transportation is provided and it’s worth the trip.

10. “Show us what you got”
So you were a pretty big deal in high school? Well, let’s see if you still have it. Start off by joining an intramural team. There is no shortage of choices including flag football, soccer, softball, floor hockey and basketball.

Pete Dorchak can be reached at pdorchak@temple.edu

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