Wallace out as Owls' football coach after this season
PHILADELPHIA -- Bobby Wallace is leaving Temple in the same shape he found it. The Owls have one of the worst programs in college football.
In the wake of an 0-6 start this season, he's ready to let someone else try to bring Temple some respectability.
After eight losing seasons where he never won more than four games and the program's future was always uncertain, Wallace said Monday he will leave at the end of the year when his contract expires.
"What we've been through, the transition we've been through, has taken a toll on me and my family," Wallace said. "It hasn't been easy."
No, it sure hasn't.
Wallace coached the Owls through one of their worst eras in a historically woeful program. Since Wallace took over in 1998, Temple was booted out of the Big East, switched home stadiums and is playing its first year as an independent before joining the Mid-American Conference as a full member in 2007.
The one constant has been the losing. Wallace has gone 19-66 since taking the job in 1998. Temple's last winning season came in 1990 and it hasn't played a bowl game since 1979.
"Losing will wear on you and we've lost a lot of games," Wallace said.
Even with three two-win seasons and a one-win season on his Temple resume, this one has truly been Wallace's toughest. The Owls have allowed more than 60 points three times already and lost by three points against Western Michigan, their best chance for a win this year.
The 11 opponents on Temple' schedule finished a combined 83-48 (.634) last year and eight of its opponents played in bowl games.
It doesn't get any easier Saturday when the Owls play seventh-ranked Miami.
Wallace said he met with athletic director Bill Bradshaw last week to talk about his future. Wallace said he made the decision now to give Temple a jump start on finding a new coach.
"If I waited until the end of the season, it would be unethical for Bill to talk to anyone right now," Wallace said.
Bradshaw said he would immediately start looking at candidates, but had no timetable for a hire.
Temple's uncertain status after being voted out of the Big East in 2001 didn't help Wallace in recruiting. The Owls were kicked out because they didn't meet minimum requirements for membership, most notably in attendance, facilities and fielding a competitive team.
"That was a strain on all of us," Wallace said.
Temple tried to spruce up the program. The Owls built a state-of-the-art practice facility at their north campus that opened in 2001 and reached a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles to play all home games at Lincoln Financial Field.
Wallace and Bradshaw feel the pieces are in place for the new coach to build a winning MAC program.
"It might be the most exceptional opportunity Temple's had to hire a football coach because of all the things that are in place that we haven't had," Bradshaw said.
Still, the Owls have no full conference affiliation for another two years. They are affiliate members of the Mid-American Conference in 2005 and 2006, slowly adding conference teams to the schedule until they are full football members in 2007.
Temple hasn't made a positive impression on its new league. The Owls have been outscored 297-63 and have lost five of their games by at least 25 points.
Wallace said he will take at least a year off and will probably not look to become a head coach elsewhere.
Wallace led North Alabama to three Division II national championships in 10 seasons at the school in his only other head coaching job from 1988-97. But he never was able to match that success at Temple. The Owls never won more than four games in a season under Wallace, and were 3-26 over the last 2½ years.
"I didn't know what I was getting into," Wallace said.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press