It’s only right… Makes perfect sense…
The college basketball season begins with the Temple Owls hosting La Salle’s Explorers. Fran Dunphy, the winningest coach in the history of the Big 5 will match wits with Ashley Howard in his first game as Head Coach.
Dunphy has 557 career wins… Howard is seeking his first…
Both programs are in the midst of massive transformations. While the memory remains fresh on the mind of every Philly hoophead, Tyrone Garland’s Southwest Philly floater kissed of the glass and slithered through the net six years ago. The Sweet 16 in 2013 is officially ancient Chinese History at 20th and Olney.
Since then, the Explorers have finished 8th, 9th, 14th, T7th and T10th… Unacceptable…
The decision was made to go in another direction…
A nationwide search yielded a candidate that grew up about 3 subway stops from the La Salle campus. An integral part of the meteoric rise of the Villanova program, Howard was tapped to lead the Explorers back to prominence.
Young, energetic and extremely AGGRESSIVE on the recruiting trail, Howard leads his squad into the Liacouris Center to face the Owls on Tuesday evening.
Meanwhile, Dunphy has been leading a Big 5 basketball program since 1989.
He constructed an Ivy League powerhouse at the University of Pennsylvania. He went 310-163 with 9 NCAA appearances with the Quakers.
Upon taking the reigns from Hall of Fame Coach John Chaney, Dunphy proceeded to make 6 NCAA appearances in his first 7 years at the helm of the Owl program.
In 2013, however, Temple abandoned the Atlantic 10 (A10) Conference for the more competitive American Athletic Conference (AAC). Since making the jump, Temple has appeared in the NCAA tournament just once in 5 years. While the Owls have also made 2 NIT tournaments, including one NIT Semifinal, that’s just not enough to satisfy Owl alums and fans.
So… for just the 5th time since 1952, Temple will have a new basketball coach next season.
Harry Litwack (1952-1973), Don Casey (1973-1982), John Chaney (1982-2006), Fran Dunphy (2006-2019) will be succeeded by Aaron McKie (2019).
Two Philadelphia programs with justifiably proud traditions are taking different approaches in their attempts to return to glory.
La Salle reached onto the Villanova bench and snatched a young assistant known as a relentless recruiter and gave him the keys to the car. Howard’s been riding shotgun for the past 5 years as Jay Wright’s been conducting “drive-by” massacres of Temple, La Salle, St. Joseph’s and Pennsylvania on his way to cutting down the Final Four nets TWICE!
Now it’s his responsibility to stop the bleeding.
Dunphy is set to begin his final lap. He’s still pumped… He’s still eager to compete… He’s till working hard to prepare his troops for battle. Aaron McKie is serving an apprentice year, patiently waiting his turn.
Around 10:00 pm Tuesday evening, either Howard will have victory number 1 or Dunphy will have number 558…
Either way, hoopheads will get a first look at two historically GREAT programs in transition.
College Basketball is Back!
College basketball is back!