With his family and 30 Temple players in attendance on Thursday, Steve Addazio was introduced as the Owls' 25th head football coach during a news conference in the Liacouras Center's Fox-Gittis Room.
Addazio, 51, who previously was the offensive coordinator and associate head coach at Florida, agreed to a six-year contract to succeed Al Golden, who on Dec. 12 was named to the same position at Miami. Addazio's annual salary at Temple was not disclosed, but Golden was believed to have earned about $550,000 a year while coaching the Owls.
Addazio picked Temple after turning down a high-paying job as offensive line coach at Texas, and another offer from an unknown major college. The Owls job is Addazio's first as a college head coach. He guided Cheshire High (Conn.) in the early 1990s.
"Just like Cliff Lee, and not like W.C. Fields, all things considered, he'd rather be in Philadelphia," Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw said about Addazio.
When he spoke after being introduced by Bradshaw, Addazio's passion for life, family, football and his players was evident. He had already watched game tape of the 2010 Owls, and he said he will evaluate the team before deciding which systems he will use.
"It's awful great to be back in the Northeast, and it's awful great to be in Philadelphia at Temple University," said Addazio, who is a native of Farmington, Conn. "I can't tell you how excited me and my family are to be here. I think I know people, and I can tell right now that this is a special place.
"Philosophically, we want balance and we want to stretch the field and make the defense defend the whole field. We want make sure we can run the football, and we want to be tough. On defense, you want to able to present challenges to opposing offenses."
The hiring of Addazio, who also has coached at Syracuse (1995-98), Notre Dame (1999-2001) and Indiana (2002-04), ended an 11-day search by Bradshaw and his athletics administration staff.
After about 75 inquiries, seven candidates wound up visiting Temple to interview for the position. One edge Addazio had over most candidates was his familiarity with the high schools and high school coaches on the East Coast, where he has developed a reputation as being a top-flight recruiter.
Addazio has 25 years of experience coaching on the college level. He spent six years at Florida and was on the Gators' staff when they won national championships in 2006 and 2008.
"As we were searching for a head football coach, the advice of legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden came to my mind," Bradshaw said in introducing Addazio. "What he told his point guards was. 'Be quick, but don't hurry.' We were looking for that one person, a terrific fit, the right individual at the right time, at the right place.
"We were looking for the following: someone who has had proven success in recruiting in the Northeast corridor; someone who could handle the daily grind of Division I-A football; someone who has had success at the highest levels of Division I-A; someone with unwavering commitment to academic success of his student-athletes.
"We wanted somebody who wants to be at Temple, as much as we want him to be here," Bradshaw continued. "And to be here for a while. I am so excited about coach Addazio."
As the search got under way, Bradshaw said he questioned some players on the Owls squad about what qualities they wanted in their next coach. Prior to the news conference, Addazio met with a group of Temple players.
Owls linebacker Quinten White, who was at the meeting and the news conference, was impressed by what he heard.
"He gives me a lot of juice," White said. "He's real passionate, and strong-willed. He knows what he's talking about, and he knows what he wants. That's a relief to me because I wasn't sure if we'd get a coach who would come in and take control, and have everybody to follow him.
"He said he was going to put us in position to make plays with the talent we have. I feel like he can do a good job of that."
Addazio said he will put together a coaching staff in the coming days. He will be on the sideline for Florida for next Saturday's Outback Bowl against Penn State.