Temple introduced Arthur Johnson as its vice president and director of athletics during a news conference on Thursday.
Johnson previously served as senior administrator at the University of Texas, and has worked at UT for the last seven years.
“You will have an advocate and a cheerleader, who will work with your coaches and staff to provide programs with what you need to be successful on campus,” Arthur said to current student-athletes. “We’re preparing you for success when you depart Temple University to make your mark on the world.”
Former Owls basketball coach Fran Dunphy had been the acting AD on an interim basis for more than 15 months, taking over the position in July 2020 after Pat Kraft left for the same position at Boston College.
“What Arthur has is strength of character, which I look for first and foremost,” said Temple president Dr. Jason Wingard. “He is a good person and people respect him. They will follow him and he will be able to motivate them because of his strength of character. He also knows what winning looks like.”
Dunphy told Wingard that he would be available during the transition process, the university president said. There will be internal conversations about when Johnson is physically in the building, but for the immediate future, the “overlap will be long.”
Because of the timing of the search, coming in the midst of an academic year, Wingard said it will be imperative for Dunphy to help acclimate Johnson with the rest of the department.
“We’re going to have the benefit of having two athletic directors for a little while,” Wingard said.
Johnson will be the first Temple AD to also serve as a formal member of the president’s cabinet, according to Wingard.
His position with revenue generation, student-athlete support, and engagement with faculty and the curriculum earned him a seat at the table, according to Wingard, to contribute to larger discussions about issues facing the university.
Johnson steps into the role amid a changing landscape in college athletics. On top of ensuring the safety of student-athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic, he’ll face challenges of conference realignment and the growing world of name, image and likeness (NIL) opportunities for athletes in a top-five media market.
“The first thing I’m going to do is come in and learn what we’re doing at Temple because what we could be doing may be better than some of the things that we’re doing,” Johnson said, as it relates to NIL. “There are so many opportunities just in the Philadelphia area alone.
“It’s understanding what we do and determine if we’ll work with an outsider or there may be some great resources on campus.”
Although he didn’t detail his plans in response to conversations on conference realignment, Johnson emphasized the importance of TV rights deals when it comes to gaining exposure for the athletic department.
His previous post at Texas had him overseeing scheduling, team travel, planning player-related activities, football camps, and aiding in the day-to-day operations of the football program, according to a news release.
Johnson got his start in college athletics spending four years as a student manager for the Georgia Bulldogs while completing his undergraduate degree. He then worked as manager of football operations at Arizona State and was the administrative assistant to the athletic director at North Carolina until December 1999.
The Thomasville, Ga., native received his undergraduate degree from Georgia in 1992, then stayed to get his bachelor’s in business administration, risk management and insurance in 1994.
“I want to celebrate the things that we’re doing really well,” Arthur said. “Also work to make those things that we’re not doing as good and find out why and work through it.”