Dunphy announced as next Temple coach
Former Penn basketball coach officially declares his move to Owls
April 11, 2006, 5:00 am · Updated April 11, 2006, 12:00 am·
After 17 years at Penn, Fran Dunphy is leaving to become the new head men's basketball coach at Temple University, he announced at a press conference yesterday afternoon.
Dunphy succeeds Owls legend John Chaney -- who retired a month ago after 24 years at the helm on the North Philadelphia campus -- and will now take the reins at what was the city's preeminent college basketball program for many years.
"We're going to do the very, very best that we possibly can and try to make Temple University proud that they made me their next head basketball coach," Dunphy said.
His remarks were received by a room packed full of family members, friends from the Big 5 and many of his former players and assistant coaches.
Several former Quakers -- notably Ira Bowman and Vince Curran -- were on hand, all of whom helped Dunphy win a Penn record 310 games and nine Ivy League titles in his time as head coach. Curran now analyzes Penn basketball games for WXPN Radio.
Curran said that "it's impossible" to replace what Dunphy has done for the Penn program, adding that "whoever comes next is going to replace one of the great coaches in not only Ivy League history but Philadelphia basketball."
Among the local coaches in attendance were Dan Dougherty of Episcopal High School, who coached Dunphy in his high school days at Malvern Prep, Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli and La Salle coach John Giannini.
Former Quakers assistant and current Cornell head coach Steve Donahue -- who has been mentioned as one of a number of possible replacements for Dunphy -- also looked on, having driven from Ithaca, N.Y., to support his former boss.
Chaney came in quietly while Dunphy was speaking. Although he shunned the limelight while Dunphy was on stage, Chaney offered his blessing to the new hire afterwards.
"When you really think about it, you hope that [the new coach] will be somebody who has a better image, or is in your image -- Franny has a better image than me," Chaney said. "There is not a better coach."
Dunphy returned the compliment.
Chaney's "impact on me has been great over the last 17 years that I have had a chance to coach against him," Dunphy said. "He's been a great friend and somebody that I have counted on for counsel a number of times in my career."
The process of finding and hiring Chaney's replacement took longer than many expected. But Temple Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw, whose ties to Dunphy go back to their days starting in the infield for La Salle's baseball team, said that he got the right man for the job.
"I think to the public, on the perimeter, he doesn't get as much credit as he would if you talked to the coaches," Bradshaw said, mentioning Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Martelli and Villanova's Jay Wright. "Krzyzewski told me that if Fran Dunphy comes here, Temple could win the national championship."
That optimism was shared by Owls guard Mark Tyndale, who is expected to be one of his team's stars next season.
"I think he's going to do good things here, and Mr. Dunphy is going to bring great enthusiasm to Temple University," Tyndale said.
Part of that enthusiasm may stem from the possibility of no longer having to report to practice as early as 5 a.m., one of Chaney's longstanding traditions.
"I don't know what hours he likes to go, but whatever hours he comes up with, I'm willing to work for him," Tyndale said.
Of course, Dunphy will have to face his former team next season and every season in his time with the Owls, as the Big 5 round-robin demands.
Dunphy is known as the Big 5's most ardent supporter among the current coaching fraternity, and it is perhaps appropriate that he has become the first person to be the head coach of two City Series teams. Nonetheless, he is not looking forward to being at the other end of the floor from Penn.
"Absolutely not," he said. "I wish I could take a sabbatical for that game, to be honest with you. ... I don't know what my emotions will be come that game, and that is just one of those things I will just have to deal with."
For now, though, Dunphy is relishing a new challenge in his coaching career.
"Now I get a chance to almost be reborn again," he said.
And as Penn begins the search for Dunphy's replacement, it will likely find the same opportunity.
The Temple job - In mid-March, following his team's loss in the National Invitational Tournament, Chaney retired after 24 years as the Temple basketball coach. While he never reached the Final Four, Chaney led the Owls to five Elite 8 appearances and 40 total NCAA Tournament wins - Dunphy was immediately tapped by experts as a top choice to replace Chaney - Yesterday, Dunphy was introduced as Temple's next head basketball coach