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5 Coaches Who Would Deliver a Winner to Temple Football

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5 Coaches Who Would Deliver a Winner to Temple

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Most businesses have this very effective tool for vetting what they hope could be long-term employees called a probationary period.

If Temple head football coach Matt Rhule was in the real business world, he’d already have jammed a couple of copiers, ruined three fax machines, proved he could not type and given 20 excuses why the report due yesterday was full of errors. He’s a helluva nice guy, but sometimes even nice guys don’t bring the requisite skill set for every kind of job.

Head football coach at a major university is one of those jobs.

While the bottom line (an 0-6 record) doesn’t look good for Rhule, unfortunately Temple already spent $1.2 million for his services this year (according to the website and there is no probationary period, which means the school is stuck with him and his 0-6 record at least until the seventh game, which is another good chance for a loss.

Already this year, USC fired its 3-2 coach and UConn fired its 0-4 coach and even Miami (Ohio) fired its 0-5 coach, but Temple will probably hang in there with Rhule at least until the end of this disastrous season because his coordinators are even less qualified than he is to take over now.

Rhule was hired in December after coach Steve Addazio left to take the Boston College job. Stung by Addazio leaving just two years after Al Golden left for Miami, the players lobbied for Rhule, a former assistant coach under both Golden and Addazio. Rhule was never a head coach anywhere before, even at the Pee-Wee level. Now Rhule has taken a 4-7 Temple team with virtually everyone back and turned it into an 0-6 team. With the possible exception of the Army Homecoming game next week in Philadelphia, Temple figures to be an underdog the rest of the way and that means an 0-12 season is very possible.

If that happens, and Temple is serious about winning, here are five proven head coaches who can win in Philadelphia and probably be open to taking the Owls’ $1.2 million:

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5. Dave Clawson

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Clawson, who makes a reported $375,000 per year as Bowling Green's head coach, was interviewed and withdrew his name from consideration when the Owls narrowed down their list last year. He has Philadelphia-area connections, having been a coordinator under Andy Talley at Villanova. He has hopes for a power conference job but, if none of those materialize, he is a proven winning coach who beat Steve Addazio's bowl-winning Owls in 2011.

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4. Ken Niumatalolo

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Niumatalolo has been Navy's head coach since the 2007 season and is probably the best coach in America nobody knows about, consistently beating teams like Notre Dame, Indiana and Missouri despite severe Naval Academy recruiting restrictions. He's had a winning season in all but one of his years as a head coach and has taken Navy to five bowl games. He is making roughly the same amount of money as Rhule ($1.2 million), but would his ceiling on winning would be higher at Temple due to service commitments and academic restrictions at Navy that don't exist at Temple.

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3. Jeff Jagodzinski

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Jagodzinski has the word God in the middle of his name and he was one at Boston College during the 2007 and 2008 seasons, having the Eagles ranked as high as No. 2 in the BCS standings in 2007. The last time Temple hired a major Eastern coach who had his team ranked No. 2 in the country, the Owls had an unprecedented run of 13 years of success and that man, Wayne Hardin, is now in the college football Hall of Fame. Hardin had Navy ranked as high as No. 2 twice as a head coach before coming to Temple. "Jags" as the BC fans called him, had a fall from grace when he was fired for applying for the New York Jets' coaching job that eventually went to current Jets' coach Rex Ryan. Jagodzinski currently is the offensive coordinator at Georgia State, making only a reported $200,000 a year, and would get a $1 million pay raise to build both his and Temple's reputation up from the ground. It would be a good fit for both.

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2. Pete Lembo

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When Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw hired Rhule, he talked about interviewing candidates "who were head coaches of teams currently in bowl games" and Lembo, who had his Ball State team in the Beef O'Brady Bowl, was thought to be one of those coaches Bradshaw was talking about. Temple moved quickly on Rhule because it did not want to disrupt its recruiting class, leaving the better head coach, Lembo, behind. Lembo, who was once the head coach at nearby Lehigh, makes only $330,000 at Ball State and understands East Coast recruiting and would get the most out of this current Temple talent level.

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1. Todd Bowles

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One of the three finalists for the Temple job last year, Bowles is the current defensive coordinator with the Arizona Cardinals and a Temple grad who wore Temple sweatshirts to all of his press conferences as DC with the Philadelphia Eagles' last year. He currently has the Cardinals' defense ranked No. 3 against the run in the entire NFL. They were ranked No. 28 against the run last year. As a head coach, he was 3-1 as an interim head coach for the Miami Dolphins, so he, unlike Rhule, is a proven winner as the top man. For Temple's purposes, he's probably the best-possible choice. He would bring discipline to what is now an undisciplined team, would relate well to recruits, and would possibly bring an outstanding defensive coordinator with him in current Cardinals' DB coach Nick Rapone, a former Temple DC. Rapone's daughter currently is a Temple student. They would both leave Arizona with the reluctant blessing of current head coach Bruce Arians, a former Temple head coach who still holds a soft spot in his heart for the school.