Coach Al Golden turned around Temple's football program, taking a cellar dweller and making it a Mid-American Conference contender.
Now he will get the chance at a higher-profile rebuilding job with the University of Miami.
Golden was offered the Hurricanes' job on Sunday, and the 41-year-old coach accepted. Temple acknowledged Golden's hiring in a news release last night. He will be officially introduced as coach in a news conference in Miami on Monday.
Golden replaces Randy Shannon, who was fired after a 7-5 finish this fall. Shannon had a 28-22 record in four seasons at his alma mater.
Miami and Golden came to an agreement at 4 p.m. Sunday on a five-year contract for at least $8 million, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations. Golden was believed to be making about $550,000 at Temple.
"Al Golden did not just win games at Temple University, but he built a football program, and he did it the right way," said Bill Bradshaw, Temple's director of athletics "The turnaround was not only seen on the gridiron, but also in the classroom, with unprecedented academic success."
Golden did not return telephone calls.
He interviewed with Miami in New York early last week. Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt visited Golden in Philadelphia on Saturday, the Miami Herald reported.
"From the beginning of this process, one candidate stood above the rest as the right fit," Hocutt said in a statement. "We are proud to welcome Al Golden to the U."
Golden, who talked to UCLA and Notre Dame after previous seasons, just completed his fifth year with the Owls. Golden's record at Temple was 27-34.
In a season that began with the Owls as the favorites to win the Mid-American Conference championship, Temple was 8-2 before dropping its last two games of the season, missing out on a second straight bowl appearance.
A possible replacement for Golden is Mark D'Onofrio, 41, the Owls' assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. He played with Golden at Penn State.
When Golden took over a dormant Temple program in December 2005, his new team was coming off an 0-11 finish. From there, the Owls went 1-11, 4-8, 5-7, and 9-4 before going 8-4 this season. Golden guided the team to a 17-5 record in its last 22 regular-season games.
In 2009, Temple enjoyed its first winning season since 1990 and appeared in the EagleBank Bowl in Washington. In Temple's first postseason appearance since 1979, UCLA claimed a 30-21 victory.
Not only did the Owls make a dramatic turnaround on the field under Golden, but they also made great strides under the NCAA's academic progress rating guidelines.
At Miami, where Shannon strengthened the program's structure and academic-support systems, Golden will be able to maintain the relationships he developed with high school programs along the East Coast. He mined the region for talent as an assistant at Virginia and as head coach at Temple.
Golden has worked the region from Boston to Washington and Northern Virginia, and now he will be going into those same high schools representing Miami, an attractive destination for prospects and a tradition-rich school.
Wilkerson's future. Junior defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson also could be moving on from the Owls.
The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Wilkerson, who was one of eight Owls to earn first-team all-MAC honors, is weighing whether to make himself available for this spring's NFL draft.
"I don't know, it's a possibility," Wilkerson said about playing his senior year. "I'm going to see what kind of grade I get [from the NFL] and make my decision from there."
Recruiting. Seven members of the Temple coaching staff were scheduled to hit the recruiting trail on Monday. How Golden's departure will affect those plans will unfold in the coming days. National signing day is Feb. 2, when as many as 25 new Owls were expected to join the team.