Temple begins Golden era with 36-year-old
PHILADELPHIA -- Al Golden is used to winning seasons, sellout crowds and bowl games.
One victory would be progress for Temple.
Golden, who spent the past five years as defensive coordinator at Virginia, was hired by Temple on Tuesday to lead its forlorn football program, ending a search that began two months ago when head coach Bobby Wallace said he wouldn't return to the school.
"I don't care what's transpired in the past," Golden said, addressing the players gathered at his news conference. "When we meet, we're going to start a new era, you guys are going to start with a clean slate."
The 36-year-old Golden has a difficult task trying to turn around decades of futility. Temple went 0-11 this year, its first winless season on the field since 1959.
Temple was 19-71 during Wallace's eight years as coach, and was booted out of the Big East Conference. The Owls were outscored 498-107 this season, while playing a difficult schedule that included four teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25 poll.
"I'm excited about leading this program as we transition into the Mid-American Conference," Golden said. "I'm confident in the commitment to excellence that currently exists at Temple University. We have the best university, the best city and the best facilities in the MAC. The future looks bright on North Broad Street."
Golden was the third member of Virginia's coaching staff to leave for a head coaching position. On Monday, offensive coordinator Ron Prince accepted the job at Kansas State. Last week, associate head coach Danny Rocco left for Liberty.
"Al Golden is a very engaging, energetic coach," Virginia coach Al Groh said. "He has contributed a great deal to our program which hopefully gives him a good model on how to do things right. His coming to Temple is a real plus for the Owl program."
The Owls are stuck with an independent schedule with no true conference affiliation for another season before joining the Mid-American Conference as a full football member in 2007.
Golden was 31 when he was hired by Virginia as the youngest defensive coordinator in the nation in 2001. He had spent the previous season at his alma mater, Penn State.
Temple's last winning season was in 1990 and the Owls haven't played a bowl game since 1979. They forfeited six wins in 1986 due to the use of ineligible players.
"With Al Golden, we now have the final piece in place for the rebuilding of the Temple football program," Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw said. "We are looking forward to providing our alums and Philadelphia college football fans a bright and promising future -- the Golden Era of Temple Football."
Golden was the linebackers coach at Boston College for three seasons (1997-99), before joining Joe Paterno's staff at Penn State. He served as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator under Paterno in 2000.
He played three years (1989-91) at Penn State, starting for two seasons at tight end.
"He'll do good because he's got an unrealistic enthusiasm," former Temple and NFL star Joe Klecko said. "Now that he's been in very successful programs like Virginia and Penn State and seen how they've done it, too, I think that history will help him."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press