There are a couple of ways to interpret Fran Dunphy's remarks after being introduced as Temple's new basketball coach on Monday.
Some might see them as just another example of Dunphy's generally reserved nature. As Temple Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw said, "Fran is very understated, very humble -- he's not the kind of guy that's out there, he's not a self-promoter."
But as Dunphy addressed the Temple community and a swarm of Philadelphia media members at the Liacouras Center, it became clear that his move across town was very much based on his own self-interest.
That might not have been the case two years ago, when Dunphy turned down La Salle after being pursued very strongly to take his alma mater's head-coaching job.
"I'm not sure I ever went through anything more emotional than that, because it was my alma mater and it was at a time where they gave the impression that they needed me," Dunphy said Monday.
Another factor was that Penn did not win the Ivy League title in 2004. Dunphy said he felt at the time that "in many ways there was some unfinished business for me."
This year was quite a different story, however, with the Quakers winning the Ancient Eight for the second straight season and the fourth time in five years. And though they lost to Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, many observers say the 60-52 defeat could have been Dunphy's best ever coaching job in a single game.
"Now is just a better time for me," Dunphy said. "Not easier, not harder -- it's just a different time, and I guess I'm ready."
Temple has long been ready for success in basketball, given its stature in the sport both locally and nationally.
For much of John Chaney's time as head coach, the Owls were the top team in the Atlantic 10 and were regularly ranked in the Top 25 in the 1980s and 1990s.
While Temple never made it to the Final Four under Chaney, it did reach the Elite Eight five times. The most recent trip that far came in 2000, which only seems like a long time ago given Temple's recent struggles.
Though the competition is far easier in the Ivy League than it is in the Atlantic 10, it is still significant that Dunphy won 310 games and coached his team to the NCAA Tournament nine times.
And it is always worth remembering that he did so without athletic scholarships and with the immense burden of the Ivy League's academic requirements.
At Temple, Dunphy will have scholarships, a bigger recruiting budget, regular appearances on national television and a ten-year-old arena with 10,000-plus seats and luxury boxes.
With these resources at his disposal, there is every chance that Dunphy could enjoy the kind of success former Princeton coach John Thompson has had at Georgetown. In just two seasons, the Hoyas went from a local and national afterthought to the Sweet 16.
Finally, there are his most important reasons of all -- money and family.
The Philadelphia Daily News reported back when Temple's coaching search began that if Dunphy took the job, his salary would almost double from the $325,000 a year he made at Penn. The appeal of that is obvious.
Perhaps less obvious is the fact that Dunphy won't have to leave the city he grew up in, and his family won't have to move either. That shouldn't surprise anyone, though, because Dunphy and his family are as Philadelphia as it gets.
"I don't have to go anywhere," he said. "I'm living in the same house; I just have to take a little bit of a different route to work every day."Comments powered by Disqus
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