The baseball team’s dugout will lack a familiar face for an undetermined period of time.
Coach Skip Wilson suffered injuries to his ribs, left knee and spine when he fell walking down the steep hill beside Temple’s dugout at Ambler Field during a March 17 practice. The fall has kept him out of commission and away from the team ever since. The Owls are 2-6 in eight games since Wilson’s fall.
“I’m in physical therapy,” Wilson said. “The doctor hasn’t said what [specifically] is wrong.”
Wilson was taken to the hospital the afternoon of his fall, and was later discharged that day. Aside from trips to physical therapy, Wilson is confined to his house. He said that progress has been minimal since the injuries occurred.
Throughout his 46 seasons as the program’s head coach, Wilson has played a pivotal role in the Owls’ success. Wilson has guided Temple to 14 NCAA tournament appearances, and led the Owls to the College World Series twice, in 1972 and 1977.
Wilson’s tenure of 45 complete seasons ties him with Virginia Tech’s Chuck Hartman for the most in Division I. Wilson became one of 15 active coaches with at least 1,000 career wins when the Owls beat Manhattan last season.
Assistant coach John McArdle will take on the head coaching responsibilities in Wilson’s absence. McArdle is in his fifth season as an assistant. He previously coached at the high school level at Chestnut Hill Academy.
McArdle said he is positive he can lead the Owls while Wilson heals.
“I have a very good relationship with our players,” McArdle said. “I’ve recruited most of them. I think the kids have been responding to me very well. But they’re worried about Skip.”
While the Owls’ 7-11 record may not reflect it, senior first baseman Mike Weckenman said McArdle has done an admirable job in Wilson’s place. However, Weckenman and the team want Wilson back as soon as possible.
“We’re obviously very concerned about him,” Weckenman said. “We want him to get well.”
This past weekend’s series with George Washington was postponed due to rain. The series will be made up as a doubleheader Thursday, May 19 and a single game on Friday, May 20. The Owls, losers of their past four games, play tomorrow at Army.
John Kopp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.