Fran Dunphy is known for his 13-year run as the head men’s coach for the Temple Owls. He has coached for Army as an assistant (1971-75), Malvern Prep as a head coach (1977-79), La Salle as an assistant coach (1979-80), American as an assistant (1980-84), went back to La Salle as an assistant again (1985-88), Penn as as an assistant (1988-89) and then promoted to head coach from 1989-2006, then his Temple run from 2006-2019, and went back to La Salle for the third time in 2022.
Dunphy’s first taste as a head coach was at Penn, where he took the Quakers to nine NCAA tournament appearances in his 17 years as head coach, but only making the round of 32 one time, in 1993-94. During his time there, he held a record of 310-163 coaching the Quakers. He also put the Quakers on the associated press poll two times in 1993-94 and 1994-95. They struggled to get out of the first round of the NCAA tournament consistently when they did make it, a big reason he left for Temple. At Temple, Fran made the NCAA tournament with ease in the Atlantic 10, making it six times in the first seven season as coach, only missing it his first year. Flashbacks of struggling to get out of the first round carried with him until 2010, when the Owls went on a run, making it to the sweet 16 as a seven seed. They did that again in 2012-13, this time as a nine seed. In 2011-12, they made it to the round of 32, ultimately losing.
Then in 2013, they switched conference to the American Athletic Conference (AAC), most likely to get more competition in basketball than than A-10 offered. Fran struggled to make the NCAA tournament, until they did in 2015-16 and in Fran’s last year with the Owls in 2018-19. He only made the tournament two times out of the six seasons with the Owls in the American, forcing his way out after the NCAA tournament loss in 2019. Dunphy didn’t coach again till 2022 because he was named the Athletic Director at Temple University after Patrick Kraft took a job at Boston College. Aaron McKie took over for him after he announced he was stepping down after the 2019 season for the basketball team. It has not been off to a great start at La Salle for Dunphy, at this point having a record of 11-13 in the A-10, the conference he left in the middle of his tenure at Temple.
Maybe father time is catching up to him and it is time to hang it up. NIL (Name, Image, and Likeliness) is chasing coaches away, from the likes of Mike Brey recently, Roy Williams, and Mike Krzyzewski from Duke. Teams are buying players to play from their teams, more than ever, which should be illegal but that is a topic for another day. The game is not what it used to be, players are going straight to the G league instead of getting the college experience, and if they are many are choosing the route of one-and-done. The immediate transfer eligibility rule is also another reason coaches might be leaving, with the portal acting like free agency frenzy. I’m not saying this is why Dunphy will walk away from the game, but it is a strong possibility, especially with him being 74 years old and a great resume to look back on.
Mr Big 5
Fran is now the all-time winningest coach in Philadelphia Big Five history, passing John Chaney who had 516 Big five wins, for first all time. All in all, Fran has done some remarkable things for someone who never accepted a power five job. The few sweet 16 appearances, the conference titles, the NCAA appearances, and the memorable memories. He has done exceptional during his time as coach and we might get to see him come March one more time!
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