Saying at an evening news conference, that it was his “dream job,” Geoff Collins was introduced as the new football coach at Georgia Tech on Friday, leaving Temple after two seasons as head coach. It was his first time as a head coach on any level.
A native of Conyers, Ga., Collins was hired on Friday, addressed his now former Temple players in the morning and departed South for his new job.
According to a source, Collins originally signed a five-year, $10 million contract with Temple.
Temple will likely move quickly to hire a new coach because the early signing period for recruits is Dec. 19-21.
“We have immediately launched a national search for a new head coach and we will be exhaustive and deliberate in the process yet move as quickly as possible,” Temple athletic director Patrick Kraft said as part of a statement released by the school.
Collins, went 15-10 in his two seasons at Temple. and won’t coach the team in its upcoming bowl game.
In talking at his Georgia Tech news conference that was streamed live by the school, Collins was emotional when discussing his brief tenure at Temple.
“It was heart-wrenching today telling a group of men I love deeply and care about with all my heart that I was leaving,” Collins said. “…They understood and know my passion for Atlanta; I bring it up all the time.”
Temple (8-4) is preparing to play in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 27 against Duke (7-5) in Shreveport, La. Assistant head coach/tight ends and special teams coach Ed Foley will serve as interim coach and guide the Owls in the bowl game. A graduate of Cherry Hill East, Foley has been an Owls assistant since 2008. He has worked under four Temple head coaches -- Collins, Matt Rhule, Steve Addazio, and Al Golden.
Foley was the interim head coach when Rhule left for Baylor, coaching the Owls in their 34-26 loss to Wake Forest in the 2016 Military Bowl.
The entire Temple assistant coaching staff will stay with the team through the bowl game, regardless if any leave to join Collins at Georgia Tech.
At the news conference, Collins intimated that several Temple assistants could be joining him at his new job.
Collins had met with Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury in New York on Wednesday and he met with Georgia Tech officials on Thursday in Atlanta. At Friday night’s news conference, he thanked Temple for the opportunity.
“You guys have probably read and seen we’re creative, outside the box, we are energy and juice and fun, and we are all of those things, but some places want to temper that,” Collins said. “They let me coach to who I am, my skill-set and it worked and the guys played really well.”
Meanwhile, Foley is attacking his new challenge with enthusiasm. Temple is hosting recruits this weekend.
As for being the interim head coach and guiding the Owls in the bowl game, Foley said in a phone interview, “It is like deja vu all over again.”
Foley, 51, couldn’t be happier to be in this position.
“I am thrilled about it,” he said. “I had a great time last time other than the result of the game and I am ready to go do it again and be better at it this time and go and attack.”
Temple, according to a source, had been prepared for Collins' potential departure and has a list of potential candidates.
One of the expected candidates is former Temple assistant and Baylor assistant head coach Francis Brown.
Brown, a Camden High product, left Temple along with Rhule for Baylor two years ago.
According to sources, Collins at the time, tried to keep Brown on the Temple staff.
Another candidate for the Temple job is Foley.
“Pat (Kraft) is putting together people to interview, and I will be interviewing,” Foley said.
Foley didn’t apply the last time the job was open for one simple reason: because he thought then-Temple defensive coordinator Phil Snow was the most qualified in-house person.
“I didn’t apply the last time because Phil Snow was on the staff and the defense was playing out of its mind and with his resume, he was the most qualified guy from the staff,” Foley said.
Snow never interviewed for the job and he ended up joining Rhule at Baylor, where he is the defensive coordinator.
Foley said Collins' final meeting with the Temple players went well.
“It was good,” Foley said about Collins meeting with the team. “The kids have mixed feelings. A lot of them are happy for him and a lot them were wondering what was going on and why and he addressed that with them.”
Senior safety Delvon Randall, a two-time first-team all-conference choice, harbored no bitterness at the move.
“Personally, I was happy for him, going back to his home,” Randall said. “He said it was always his dream job.”