Temple Athletics 2023 Wrapped

Temple faced transfer portal issues, coaching changes and inconsistencies in 2023, but there were plenty of good moments that left Owls fans optimistic for the future.

Temple Athletics had a rocky 2023. TTN Sports reviews the ups and downs on North Broad Street. | ALLYSON THARP // THE TEMPLE NEWS

This year was a rocky one for Temple Athletics.

Despite struggles surrounding NIL and fundraising in the department, Temple’s performances on the fields, courts and gyms were a mixed bag. The Owls faced transfer portal issues, coaching changes and inconsistencies, but there were plenty of good moments that left Owls fans optimistic for the future.

As the calendar year closes, many stories defined the year in Temple sports, but some stood out more than others. Here are the biggest stories from North Broad Street.


While Men’s Basketball was plagued by inconsistencies last season, the team rallied for a 56-55 win against then-No.1 Houston on Jan. 22. It was the Owls first win against the nation’s top ranked team in almost 24 years. Temple held Houston to less than 60 points, and guard Damian Dunn’s 16 points were just enough to put the Owls in the win column.

Men’s Soccer added an upset victory in its 2-1 win against Syracuse, the defending national champions, on Oct. 10. Despite having just one win entering the game, the Owls jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, and defender Rocco Häufglöckner scored the game-winning goal in the 89th minute to secure the upset.


Both Men’s and Women’s Basketball had their fair share of drama to end the 2022-23 season. The men’s team, who labeled their season “tournament or bust,” finished with a disappointing 16-16 record before head coach Aaron McKie’s resignation on March 13.

“I want to thank Temple for the opportunity and the privilege to serve as the Men’s head basketball coach,” McKie wrote in a press release. “I wish nothing but the best for Temple student-athletes and the University moving forward.”

Five players transferred out of the program, including the Owls’ leading scorers Dunn and guard Khalif Battle. 

Tensions were reportedly high between Mckie and Battle throughout the entire season. The guard left the team after being benched on Feb. 16 against Wichita State, signaling inevitable changes to the program.

Women’s Basketball was in a bad spot during Diane Richardson’s first year as head coach. Former guards Jasha Clinton and Aniya Gourdine were suspended and later dismissed for violating team rules. Forward Jalynn Holmes and guard Kourtney Wilson left the program at the same time for unspecified reasons.

The Owls had just eight players available through the final stretch of American Athletic Conference play. Guard Aleah Nelson played almost every minute of each game down the stretch, and the Owls finished 11-18.


Athletic Director Arthur Johnson made two head coaching changes this year. After McKie’s departure, Johnson hired former Penn State assistant coach Adam Fisher on March 13 to take charge of the program. Fisher’s squad has a 6-5 record so far and he has created a new culture in the locker room.

“I am truly honored and humbled by the amazing opportunity to become a part of the Temple family,” Fisher said. “I could not be more excited to lead one of the nation’s most legendary programs in Temple Men’s Basketball.”

Former women’s Soccer head coach Nick Bochette was dismissed after another disappointing season. The Owls had a 12-37-11 record during four years under Bochette and severely struggled in conference play, finishing with a 4-28 record, including 20 straight losses.


Volleyball took a huge step forward in 2023, showing what the future of the program could hold. To cap off their growth on the floor, the Owls made history when they played in The Liacouras Center on Sept. 8 for the first time.

Tickets were in high demand when then-No. 12 Penn State came to North Broad, and nearly 2,500 Temple fans filled more than half the lower bowl, creating a loud and rowdy environment. 

“I try not to get emotional about it because it’s so awesome to see,” said Temple head coach Linda Hampton-Keith. “We have a really unique and amazing volleyball community here in Philadelphia. I’ve never been anywhere that has that.” 

Playing in The Liacouras Center was a big step in Temple’s best season in recent history. This moment was also a step in the right direction for non-revenue sports, showing that fans were anxious to support Temple teams in big moments.


The start of the Men’s Soccer season was not what first year head coach Bryan Green had in mind. Green had his hands full leading a team that finished 4-9-3 in the previous season. The Owls started the season 0-5-3 in the first two months of the season and were outscored 25-8 during the stretch.

Temple built some momentum in October, going 3-2-1 on top of its upset against Syracuse. The Owls closed the season in contention for an AAC Tournament berth, showing their potential and promise in future seasons.

“We’re going to work hard,” Green said. “We’re going to treat each other with respect, and we are going to come together as a team.”

Midfielder Felix Ewald was crucial to Temple’s success in his first year, leading the Owls in goals and assists while earning All-Conference Second Team. Forward Juan Zepeda also earned All-Conference Second Team after totalling three goals and two assists.


Temple Football finished its season with a disappointing 3-9 record for the second straight season. However, its biggest headline in 2023 was quarterback E.J. Warner’s decision to transfer to Rice on Dec. 20.

“I’m forever grateful to Temple University, Coach [Stan] Drayton and Coach [Danny] Langsdorf for the opportunity they gave me to pursue my dream of playing college football,” Warner wrote in a social media post. “Knowing the belief they had in me and wanting to help them bring back the winning ways of Temple Football is what makes this so tough.”

Warner etched himself into Temple’s history books in 21 games in Cherry and White. He finished fourth in total passing yards, completions and touchdowns in Temple history. The sophomore has two years of eligibility remaining, and his decision to enter the portal was a tough blow to a program looking for answers.

The Owls brought in former Rutgers quarterback Evan Simon during National Signing Day on Dec. 20, and he will have big shoes to fill in 2024.


Temple Athletics has many questions that need to be answered in 2024. Fisher and Richardson are leading rebuilds and seem to be headed in the right direction, but neither team has played their best basketball so far.

Temple Field Hockey made its fourth consecutive Big East Tournament under head coach Michelle Vittese but could not meet their goals, falling to Old Dominion 2-0 in the conference semifinals. The Owls were plagued by inconsistent play and went 0-5 against NCAA Tournament teams. They have a short window with their core pieces before they leave Temple and will need to capitalize next season.

Fencing, Gymnastics and Lacrosse are all seemingly at a crossroads as younger talent find their footing at the collegiate level. 

Football seems to be the biggest question mark. The Owls will enter Drayton’s third season without showing much improvement. With a new quarterback and a revamped roster, the future of the team is uncertain.

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