Temple athletic director Patrick Kraft let out a little laugh Friday when he introduced Northern Illinois’ Rod Carey as the Owls’ new football coach.
“I feel like Bill Murray in ‘Groundhog Day,’ ” Kraft said.
Just 29 days earlier, Kraft and the university had welcomed Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz as the replacement for Geoff Collins, who left for Georgia Tech after two years. But that changed quickly after Hurricanes coach Mark Richt unexpectedly retired Dec. 30. About 12 hours later, Diaz had a five-year deal with Miami and the Temple job was vacant again.
“We got punched a little,” Kraft said. “You were like, ‘Whoa.’ And then you get back at it.”
Temple’s new search officially ended Friday with the hiring of Carey, who compiled a 52-30 record in six full seasons at NIU and coached the Huskies in six bowl games. They won the Mid-American Conference twice, including this past season, and four MAC West titles during his tenure, which began after Dave Doeren left for North Carolina State between the 2012 regular season and the 2013 Orange Bowl. Carey was the 2013 MAC coach of the year.
“This is exactly where I want to be,” Carey said. “I told Dr. Kraft as we were going through this whole thing, I said, ‘Put whatever buyout you want on it. I don't care.’ That's not important to me. What's important is I want to be here. I've said no other times. This is the right time and the right place. They always made me feel like I was the guy they wanted.”
Added Kraft: “We took our time to find our coach. We wanted someone who truly understood who we were, someone who wanted to be here. … We were looking for a proven winner, someone who has a track record of winning and winning the right way.”
NIU athletic director Sean Frazier said the search for Carey’s replacement is underway and he would have no updates until it is over. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reported Thursday night that Ravens running backs coach Thomas Hammock, a former NIU star, is expected to be a candidate.
“As one of the most successful FBS programs in the country, we’ve had significant interest in leading our football program,” Frazier said in a statement. “We will put tireless effort into finding the next head coach with the expectation to continue our championship tradition at NIU.”