First there was the Groundhog Day joke from Temple athletic director Patrick Kraft.
Yes, Temple has been in this situation, it seems a lot lately, but in the theme to introduce new football coach Rod Carey, one thing clearly stood out: There might not be another coaching news conference for the foreseeable future.
Carey, the Northern Illinois coach the past six seasons, was introduced as the Temple coach on Friday at the Liacouras Center.
This news conference came less than a month after Manny Diaz was introduced as Temple’s new coach, on Dec. 13, having replaced Geoff Collins, who left after two seasons for the same job at Georgia Tech.
Diaz’s tenure lasted about 20 minutes, or it seemed that way. The former defensive coordinator at Miami, Diaz left to become the Hurricanes head coach on Dec. 30, leaving a stunned Temple staff having to again go through the laborious interview process.
So the 47-year-old Carey, a former standout center at the University of Indiana, quelled any initial fears that he was just here for a resume booster along the way to a Power 5 school.
“I told Dr. Kraft as we were going through this to put whatever buyout you want,” Carey said. “That is not important to me.”
Apparently it isn’t, because a source said that the buyout is $10 million for each of the first two years of his contract. The third year, according to the source is still $8 million.
Temple didn’t have any problem attracting candidates. Kraft suggested the pool of candidates might have been wider the second time.
This will be a job that will always attract plenty of willing suitors, especially with the way the football program has performed lately.
The Owls have been to four straight bowl games and Carey’s salary, according to a source, begins in the $2 million range. The source said Carey has a six-year deal.
“We took our time to find our coach,” Kraft said. “We wanted somebody who truly understood North Philadelphia, truly understood who we were.”
What impressed Temple after the Diaz fiasco was how much Carey wanted to be here.
“I said ‘no’ other times to other jobs when I was at NIU, but this is the right job, the right place and I am super excited about that,” Carey said.
Carey said he wouldn’t address questions about his coaching staff until he hires everybody. He alluded to the fact that he expected to bring some coaches from NIU.
One of them, according to a source, is defensive coordinator Jeff Knowles, who attended the news conference. He is expected to be the co-defensive coordinator, according to the source.
Diaz, before he departed, had decided to keep two holdovers from the previous staff: tight end and special teams coach Ed Foley, who served as interim head coach after Collins left, and quarterbacks and inside receivers coach and recruiting coordinator-offense Adam DiMichele. In addition, Diaz hired Fran Brown, a former assistant at Temple who served the past two years at Baylor under former Temple coach Matt Rhule. Brown was hired by Diaz as assistant head coach/co-defensive coordinator.
Diaz also hired former St. Joseph’s Prep head coach Gabe Infante, believed to be as a linebacker coach.
One Temple source said it’s hoped that Brown and Foley will stay in their same job titles, but that would be up to Carey. The source wasn’t sure about the job titles of Infante and DiMichele and added that Carey is trying to keep all four.
Brown and Foley are seen as key components since they are both excellent recruiters who know the area so well. Their area ties go way back to when Foley was lineman at Cherry Hill East and Brown was a quarterback-defensive back at Camden. The local roots are important since Carey has mostly Midwestern ties.
What Carey didn’t lack at NIU was the ability to produce wins. After being NIU’s offensive line coach for two seasons along with offensive coordinator for one of those years, Carey was named the head coach in December 2012, before the Huskies went to the Orange Bowl.
During six full seasons in his first college head-coaching job, he went 52-30 and appeared in the Mid-American Conference title game four times, winning two championships. This past season, the Huskies went 8-6 but beat Buffalo, 30-29 in the MAC title game.
The one blemish on his coaching resume is an 0-6 record in bowl games.
“Every bowl-game situation is different. I look at how he got there -- he won the conference championship and had a great win this year against Buffalo,” Kraft said. “That doesn’t really faze me, I would rather he get there.”
At least on Day 1 of his Temple career, Carey seemed genuine when he said he wanted to be at Temple. After an emotionally exhausting last month for all involved in the program, that had to be the most encouraging sign from their newest football coach.