NEWPORT, R.I. -- First-year Temple coach Rod Carey said he would have liked to have kept popular longtime assistant Ed Foley, but he understood Foley’s dissatisfaction after he was taken off the field and given an off-the-field job, with an emphasis on special teams.

Foley, who spent 11 seasons at Temple, has decided to join Baylor, where he will be working under former Owls coach Matt Rhule in an administrative capacity.

Last season Foley was the tight-ends and special-teams coach and the Owls had one of the best special teams in the country. They blocked five kicks and scored six touchdowns.

“I really didn’t want to leave,” Foley said in an interview Saturday.

Foley said it was his choice to leave. Carey, in an interview Monday, before the American Athletic Conference’s annual media clam bake, said the same thing.

“I wanted him to stay,” Carey said. “This wasn’t a thing we pushed. He called and said he was going to Baylor.”

Carey was the head coach at Northern Illinois the previous six years. Eight of his 10 full-time assistant coaches at Temple worked for him at NIU.

“The whole reasoning for that was really easy," Carey said of the move with Foley. "I looked at the makeup of our staff and I had a lot of offensive coaches, myself included in that pool. Where has Temple kind of hung their hat?

That would be defense.

“Right,” Carey said. “I have a good young coach off the field in Tyler Yelk, who I wanted to move on the field to balance out a little bit to get more onus on defense and get more attention to detail there.”

Yelk coached the safeties last season under Carey at NIU. He was hired by Temple in January as a defensive analyst. Now he will be a full-time assistant, taking Foley’s spot.

Carey said that had Foley stayed, he would have been involved in the planning of special teams.

“We were on the same page and he was still going to be very involved in special teams. But when you take somebody off the field, it is tough to be in charge,” Carey said.

So Carey understands Foley’s disappointment.

“That was a program decision and had nothing to do with Ed,” Carey said. “Unfortunately, you get caught up in a situation where what is best for the program isn’t best for the individual, and that [stunk] and I told him it [stunk].”

When asked who the special teams coach would be, Carey said, “We will divvy it up.”

Pony Stampede, a publication that covers SMU sports, reported that the Mustangs’ defensive line coach, Brett Diersen, is leaving to become Temple’s special-teams coach. Temple has not confirmed the hiring and Carey said he was unable to comment.

A source said that Diersen is coming to Temple, and will have Foley’s old job, overseeing the special teams but not being able to coach on the field.