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Posted May 3, 2013
Bill Bradshaw arrived at Temple as athletic director in a time of great crisis and leaves it at a time of prosperity and with a bright future. He hired Al Golden and Fran Dunphy and helped the Owls move from a split affiliation with the Atlantic 10 and Mid-American Conference into the Big East. That will be his legacy as athletic director, and it’s a strong one.
Bill Bradshaw arrived at Temple as athletic director in a time of great crisis and leaves it at a time of prosperity and with a bright future.
He hired Al Golden and Fran Dunphy and helped the Owls move from a split affiliation with the Atlantic 10 and Mid-American Conference into the Big East – soon to become the American Athletic Conference.
That will be his legacy as athletic director, and it’s a strong one after Bradshaw announced his retirement following 11 years on the job on Wednesday afternoon.
When Bradshaw accepted the position at Temple, leaving DePaul, he did so with the football program facing an uncertain future. A football-only member of the Big East, the Owls had been ousted for a number of reasons including low attendance, not controlling its own home dates and poor performance on the field.
Bradshaw also came into a situation where the school’s president, David Adamany, wished the football program would just go away and took steps to make sure that happened.
I was critical of Bradshaw in the early going. I thought his first, second and third job as soon as he was hired in 2002 was to gain affiliation in a new league for the football program.
The process took time and it took its toll on the program. Given notice of its ouster in 2001, the football program played its last game in the Big East in 2004.
Recruiting suffered as Temple’s program twisted in the wind. Finally, the Owls found a home in the Mid-American Conference as a football-only member beginning in 2006, but they went 0-11 as an independent in 2005.
I wrote early in Bradshaw’s tenure that his legacy would be what happened with the football program under his watch.
Bradshaw helped shepherd the Owls into the MAC. And then he hired Al Golden.
Golden led the Owls to their first bowl game since 1979 and finished with two straight winning seasons before departing after five years with Temple’s best wishes to become the head coach of the University of Miami (Fla).
The subsequent hire of Steve Addazio kept the program relevant, though to call it a good or bad move after Addazio departed for Boston College following his second season isn’t something that can be judged. Addazio won a bowl game in his first year, went 4-7 as the Owls went up a level of competition in his second.
This year would have been the real test of the Addazio era, but instead this season will fall to Matt Rhule. Indications so far from recruiting and excitement around the program are that Rhule was a good hire, but more will be known after he coaches a game – and really a couple seasons.
Bradshaw also had the unenviable task of replacing legendary men’s basketball coach
. Fran Dunphy was the right man for the job, leading the Owls back to national prominence and six straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
The hire of Tonya Cardoza to replace Dawn Staley at the helm of the women’s basketball program has been a positive one as well.
The Big East has broken apart since Temple joined the conference for all sports last March in what looked like one of the biggest days in the athletic program’s history.
But what will be the American Athletic Conference is still a solid all-sports league where Temple should be able to contend for conference titles in the major sports. It is an upgrade over the previous situation.
The basketball programs are both perennial NCAA tournament contenders.
The football program is where it needs to be in order to be a regular contender for bowl games. Not only did it survive, it has thrived.
That is Bradshaw’s legacy. And it is a good one.
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