A move that many in North Philadelphia were hoping for has come to fruition. Rod Carey is no longer the head football coach of the Temple Owls.
The results speak for themselves. Carey finished with a 12-20 record in three seasons at Temple, including a 3-9 record in 2021 and a year removed from a 1-6 mark in 2020. The team looked to have quit on him down the stretch as the Owls finished the season on a seven-game losing streak, losing by 20-plus in each contest. The numbers under Carey were staggering.
Some Temple numbers:— Ray Dunne (@RayDunneBTB) November 21, 2021
• 3-12 on the road since 2019, outscored 530-263 in those games.
• 15th loss by 20+ points since 2019.
• First time that Temple has lost six straight by 20+ points since they lost seven straight by 20+ points in 2005.
The truth is he was never the right hire from the start. Temple was left with slim pickings when Manny Diaz bolted for Miami after only 18 days at the helm. At that point, most, if not all, of the college football coaching carousel was complete. With not much to choose from, the Owls named Carey as their guy after going 52-30 with six winning seasons in seven years at Northern Illinois.
He guided Temple to an 8-5 record in 2019 but that was with his predecessor’s players. It didn’t take long for his relationship with the team to spiral downhill.
There were issues inside and out the program as several current and former players had much to say about Carey. Multiple players had issues with the strength staff and Temple AD Arthur Johnson said the university is investigating allegations by former players about mistreatment by Carey and his staff members.
The transfer portal is a part of the college football landscape but Temple was losing key players at an alarming rate. Re’Mahn Davis looked to be next in line of great Temple running backs but left for Vanderbilt. Starting quarterback Anthony Russo opted to be a backup at Michigan State. Isaiah Graham-Mobley, a fixture in the Temple defense for many seasons, transferred to Boston College.
Jadan Blue, the only receiver in school history to record more than 1,000 yards in a single season, left the team midseason. MJ Griffin, the team’s top returning tackler, announced he was entering the portal. D’Wan Mathis, who transferred to the program this past offseason from Georgia, left the team for a short time. It’s unknown if either will stick around for the new regime.
Temple became a breeding ground for NFL talent until Carey took over. Current NFL players Quincy Roche and Kenny Yeboah went to Twitter to say they were essentially banned from being around the team. That was unheard of from the previous coaches. They embraced the culture set before them, dating back to Golden reviving the program from ruins.
It was a complete chaos that derailed the standard set by his predecessors. Temple’s previous four coaches - Al Golden, Steve Addazio, Matt Rhule and Geoff Collins - all left for Power 5 jobs. That’s the state of coaching in the American Athletic Conference. Coaches use the AAC as a springboard to a better job.
Carey will likely struggle to find another head coaching job in the immediate future.
The next step for Temple is to find a head coach that can not only reconcile the relationships with the current players but bring back what made Temple unique: respected blue-collar players in a blue-collar city.
Carey was never the right fit but the athletic department made the right move to move on. With a new AD and president at the helm, this is their first major decision to bring Temple back to being a contender in a soon-to-be revamped AAC.