Ron Costello

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Matt Rhule is keeping mum as well he should be. He's that kind of coach.

His 10-2 Temple Owls are at Houston on Saturday to face the 11-1 Cougars for the American Athletic Conference Championship. If they win, they not only win their conference but a cushy bowl game like the South Beach Babes Bowl in Miami.

The team deserves a bowl like that, and their coach deserves a hike in salary, as do his assistants.

But how high would you go?

Standing from left, coach Matt Rhule, All-American linebacker Tyler 
Matakevich, and star running back Jahad Thomas, honored at the 
Liacouras Center Sunday night when the Owls took on the University
of Delaware.
The papers say he's at $1.3 million, which is low. Getting him up to the stratosphere of Nick Saban might be too high.

But if Penn State's James Franklin is at $4.4 million, then Rhule deserves at least that, and then some.

How do I figure?

Temple has  been searching for a coach like Rhule for a hundred years. They keep getting left at the alter. Either a coach uses the school for a stepping stone or stinks at coaching football.

Peter Liacouras would have sold the Law School for a season like this. If he could, Bill Cosby would be here declaring a national holiday and cracking corny jokes.

Plus, Rhule did it at Temple. Akin to winning a marathon in Antarctica.

The university prides itself on finding diamonds in the rough — 'acres of diamonds' they call it. Let's hope it's smart enough to recognize a diamond coach and make every attempt to keep him.

And they can't cry poor mouth. They want to spend $100 million on a ridiculous on-campus stadium, where fans can park down at the Linc and take the subway to the on-campus games. Sort of vice-versa from what we have now — there's just not a lot of safe parking on the Temple campus.

They can't fill the Liacouris Center for most basketball games; they won't fill a 35,000 seat football stadium for most games, either.

Why? I think people think twice about driving into North Philly to park for a game. Exactly the reason the Phillies left Lehigh Avenue. That's not politically correct and no Temple administrator will say it. But I can. And it's true!

If Temple keeps Rhule, they'll be able to fill the lower sections at the Linc, and be competitive. Rhule leaves and it could be another hundred years before they have a season like this one.

And for big games, there are enough seats to fill at the Linc and rake in the gate receipts.

The students have the subway. Perhaps Temple can make a deal with SEPTA and run free express trains before and after the games — every half hour to and from the Linc. An express subway train from Temple to the Linc?

Less than ten minutes.

And where  would you prefer to park? In parking lots around the Linc, Wells Fargo Center and Citizens Bank Park? Or in North Philly?

True, most of the coaches listed on the Rhule photo have been coaching a lot longer than Matt Rhule. But what's most important? Coaching years or winning?

Lookit, one thing is certain: If Temple wants to be a national player in college football, they need to keep Rhule and pay him what's he's worth.

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