ELEVEN DAYS after Temple lost its football coach to Miami, it replaced him with the offensive coordinator from Florida.
Not too long ago, the possibility of either of those moves transpiring would have been remote at best.
But 5 years ago, Al Golden was brought in to build a program mostly from scratch. And he did, which is why he was presented with an even bigger gig.
Now, Steve Addazio is the guy being charged with taking that foundation to greater heights.
Good thing he's only been preparing for this his entire professional life.
Yesterday at the Liacouras Center, his wife Kathy and children Nicole, 23, Jessica, 20, and Louie, 17, joined alumni as well as current and former players for the official introduction.
"I've been waiting a long time," said Addazio, 51, a Connecticut native who began his career at Western Connecticut State in 1985 and has spent the past six seasons with the Gators, the last two as OC. "I've paid my dues in this business. I've worked for some great people, had the pleasure of being around some great players. I feel like [that's] really contributed and guided me [to this].
"It's been a whirlwind. There's a lot going on. When this opportunity came, I couldn't get here fast enough. It's been a crazy week. It ended in a way I couldn't have ever dreamed.
"I learned [early on] that if you're . . . a good person and a good staff member, good things will happen. I just kept grinding. I've had other opportunities. I wanted to be in the Northeast. People who know me know that was my goal. My roots are up here. It was very important to me."
Sources familiar with the situation said that Addazio, who's also worked in the Big East, Big Ten and at Notre Dame, was Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw's choice over Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley. Ironically, Addazio and Bradley will coach against each other in the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla.
If Addazio hadn't come here, he was apparently headed to Texas to become the offensive line coach.
"This is a special place. I can feel it," said Addazio, who was the interim coach at Florida when Urban Meyer resigned for the first time following the 2009 season. "There's going to be great times, there's going to be hard times. But if we stick together as a family, we'll get through all times.
"I couldn't write a better script for me. This is a city that embraces toughness. And it embraces competitiveness. That's what I'm about. I love that aspect of it. I can't wait to continue and start a new era here. We're going to have a ball.
"I've watched from not so afar. I always knew in my heart this was a diamond in the rough."
He certainly doesn't lack for enthusiasm.
"It's just the way I'm wired," Addazio said. "I want to be passionate, I want to be real. That's what I am. I want to have fun. You've got to enjoy the ride. There's a lot of buzz right now about Temple. When you look at it, how could there not be?"
The Owls won nine games in 2009 and went to their first bowl game in 3 decades. They were picked to win the Mid-American Conference last season, but lost their last two to go 8-4, which left them in third place in the East Division. They were one of two bowl-eligible teams that didn't go anywhere. So there's still a lot left to accomplish.
It has been a long week for the players, too. At least now they can refocus on the future again.
"We can't wait to get back and get started," said junior defensive back Kevin Kroboth. "We were fortunate to have [Golden] for the time we did. We want to move forward from where he took it. [Addazio] seems like he has a lot of the same values. For a while there it was like, 'What are we going to do?'
"I thought [Golden] had a lot of energy. But this guy's really over the top."
Added freshman quarterback Chris Coyer: "I don't know what he's going to bring, but I love that. As a player you feed off that. We're still a family. It only takes one guy to have a lot of energy, and everybody else starts getting up."
While terms of the contract weren't disclosed, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Addazio was earning $350,000 annually at Florida, with bonuses potentially worth an additional $150,000. It's believed Golden was making in the neighborhood of $500,000, which made him easily the highest-paid football coach in the MAC.
Addazio will not hold his first team meeting until the players return from semester break in mid-January. He said he'll take his time putting together a staff, and be very involved with the offense and special teams. As a recruiter, his reputation precedes him.
Five years ago, Temple got it right. Now the challenge is different. Yet the goals remain unchanged.
The keys have been handed off.
"I've been a part of championships," Addazio said. "I want these kids to experience that. I think people want to see a vision. That's really what it's all about."
And when he finally rolls up his sleeves and gets down to tackling this assignment in earnest, he's well aware of all the perks that his new hometown offers. Things that Gainesville simply couldn't provide.
You know what they say about a properly equipped army running on its stomach.
"I've stopped in South Philly many times," the Italian in him duly noted. "I can't wait. I miss that. Being down [in Florida], you can't get a great gravy. Or a great pizza. I was up here last winter every week [recruiting], and I'd stop in for a dish of macaroni or a cheesesteak.
"When I go on the road I put about 20 pounds on. I can't stop eating."