AACLet's Speculate!

Let’s Speculate! Potential Temple head basketball coach candidates

Welcome to Let’s Speculate! on Coaches Database, where we go through programs that are or may soon be looking for a new head coach and speculate who they may hire next.

Today’s program is Temple, coached by Aaron McKie since 2019 (stepped down on Monday).

  • Matt Langel – Colgate head coach
    • Langel is from Moorestown, NJ just outside of Philly and played at Penn, where he was first-team All-Ivy in 2000 and later started his coaching career. He knows the program, having spent five seasons as one of Fran Dunphy‘s assistants at Temple before getting hired by Colgate in 2011. It took several years to build things up but the Raiders are now the toast of the Patriot League, winning or sharing the last five league titles and going to each of the last four NCAA Tournaments. The 45-year old has many years in the game ahead of him and will soon be on to bigger and better things. Langel has to be the first call, and all others on this list should really only be considered if he says ‘no,’ in our humble opinion.
  • Brian Earl – Cornell head coach
    • One of the hottest coaching names in the Ivy League, Earl was named Ivy Coach of the Year last year after leading Cornell to a winning record (15-11) for the first time since 2010. The Big Red had another solid year with some quality OOC wins and a 4th place finish in the league. Earl is an Ivy League guy, having played and coached at Princeton before arriving in Ithaca in 2016, and originally hails from New Jersey. As a senior at Shawnee HS (NJ) in 1995, he was named Player of the Year by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Kevin Baggett – Rider head coach
    • A St. Joseph’s alum who is currently serving as a D-I head coach, Baggett certainly needs to be considered for the job. His 10+ year tenure at Rider has had its ups and downs; the Broncs won the MAAC back in 2018 but also finished 6-18 just two years ago. But he’s done the job, knows Philly and has been recruiting the area for decades.
  • Steve Donahue – Penn head coach
    • Should Temple just snag another active head coach from within the Big 5? Donahue has done well at Penn, including a 2018 Ivy title and NCAA bid, and before that build up a long dormant Cornell program and took them to the Sweet 16. His tenure at Boston College did not work out well, but the AAC could be a better speed for him than the ACC.
  • Jared Grasso – Bryant head coach
    • Grasso has been at Bryant since 2018 and last year led the Bulldogs to 22 wins, a NEC title and NCAA Tournament berth. The program moved to the America East this season and it likely won’t be long before Grasso makes his own move to a bigger job. The NY-native played at Quinnipiac and also coached there, along with stints at Hofstra, Hartford, Fordham and Iona.
  • Adam Fisher – Penn State associate head coach
    • The Pennsylvania-native and former Penn State manager has been back at his alma mater as an assistant since 2021 after spending a number of years working at Miami (FL). He had an earlier stint in Happy Valley, but has also worked at Boston University and was a graduate manager at Villanova when the Wildcats when to the Final Four in 2009.
  • Bruiser Flint – Kentucky assistant coach
    • Not the most accomplished head coach necessarily on this list, but Bruiser has been in the game a long time and has plenty of years as a head coach under his belt at both UMass (1996-2001) and Drexel (2001-16). He’s been to two NCAA Tournaments and six NITs and as an assistant coach has worked under both John Calipari and Archie Miller. Flint is a Philly-native and St. Joe’s alum so if there is a situation for him to return to form as a head coach, it might just be back in his hometown.
  • John Gallagher – former Hartford head coach
    • It’s been a strange few years for Gallagher, who won 18+ games each year 2017-20 and then won the America East Tournament in the shortened 2020-21 season to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in Hartford‘s D-I history. Then administration decided to drop to D-III, Gallaghers 2021-22 squad went 12-20 and he wound up resigning right before the start of this past season due to the school’s complete lack of support in his program. Gallagher is from the Philly area, he played at St. Joseph’s and has been an assistant in the Big 5 – La Salle 1999-2003 and Penn 2008-10. He might need to go the mid-major route first before he’s ready for the AAC, but he’s an intriguing candidate nonetheless.
  • Dawn Staley – South Carolina women’s head coach
    • We’re not putting Dawn last as a sign of disrespect, but actually the opposite. Her name is floating around, as she is from Philly and previously coached the women’s team at Temple before going down to the SEC to build a new powerhouse at South Carolina. Yes, it would be ground-breaking. Yes, we need more gender diversity in college basketball. But Staley is raking in $3 million+ per year from USC, so unless Temple is planning on paying her triple what they were paying McKie and Dunphy, this seems like the longest of long shots.