"Destination Temple."

That was Steve Addazio's message at his opening news conference after being formally named the Owls' football coach today.

A destination for him and his family and he returns to the Northeast and a destination, he hopes, for top high school players in the region.

"I'm home and I'm living my dream," said Addazio, who was born and raised in Connecticut.

"It's awful great to be back in the Northeast and it's awful great to be in Philadelphia at Temple University," he said. "I can't tell you how excited my family and myself are to be here ... This is a special place. I can feel it."

Addazio comes to Temple with 25 years of coaching experience, including the last six at the University of Florida under Urban Meyer. He has been the offensive coordinator for the last two years.

Addazio's only experience as a head coach came at highly regarded Cheshire High in Connecticut. He also served as the interim coach last winter at Florida while Meyer was dealing with medical issues.

"I've waited a long time to be a head football coach," he said. "I've paid my dues in this business. I've worked for some great people. I've had the pleasure to be around great players. Those people have contributed, helped guide me to this opportunity."

Addazio replaces Al Golden, who left for the University of Miami on Dec. 12. Athletic director Bill Bradshaw said an internal search committee, with he and three other althetic department administrators at the school, did 5 days of "intense interviews."

He said the timing of Golden's departure was "not ideal," but he said the "only timetable was finding the right person."

"The interest and response for this position was extraordinary," Bradshaw said. "Any one of our fianlists, we believe, could take our program to the next level. One candiate emerged above the others as the right candidate as the right time at the right place ... We were unaninimous in our belief that Steve matched our vision for what Temple football could become."

Bradshaw said he spoke with Meyer, who told him Addazio was one of the best coaches in the country and one of the top recruiters that he had every been around.

"I'm happy for Steve Addazio and his family," Meyer said. "Steve has been extremely loyal to me and the University of Florida, and I will be forever thankful for his unwavering commitment. His energy and passion have been well documented and he is a tremendous recruiter and motivator. He is well respected by his peers and his players and I wish him nothing but the best."

Added Bradshaw on the choice: "We wanted that the nation would take notice that the Owls are serious about their commitment to I-A football and our best days are ahead of us and not behind us."

In elaborating on his "Destination Temple" message for prospective recruits, Addazio said, "Don't be in a hurry. Don't be passing through. Make it 'Destination Temple' and be proud ... This is great time of your life. That's what it's all about, being around great people, attached to a great university ... it's a beautful place and a great opportunity to have a great experience."

Addazio also said he would open his arms to the alumni base and the city as a whole.

"Our vision is real simple," he said. "We're going to work really hard. We're going to treat people right. We're going to embrace tradition, embrace Philadelphia, the alumni and this great university, and we're gonig to represent it with great integrity.

"You're going to be asked to be part of this football program. I'm going to go out and make sure every high school coach knows the doors are open to everybody ... I want to get out and meet all the alumni and know you feel so welcome. You are going to get the best out of the Addazios and out of this football program."

Addazio said he took a tour of Lincoln Financial Field, where Temple plays its home games, and was blown away.

"I love this area," he said. "It's a sports town. It's a city that embraces toughness and competitivness. That is what I'm about. That is what my family is about ...

"To come here, live in this community, be part of this program, you couldn't write a better script for me. This is where my family and I want to be. We want to build and grow this program

"You had a great year this year. It's our responsibility to come here and build on that ... I want to come in here and work real hard and roll our sleeves up and be a team reflective of this city, tough, competitive. To win the East, to win a MAC championships to go to great bowl games. That is what this university and this city deserves and that is what they're going to get."