Fran Dunphy made his debut as the head coach of Temple’s men’s basketball team yesterday at a press conference held inside the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. His introduction ended a 17-year tenure at the helm of the Penn men’s basketball team.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the people at Penn. … Working with the people at Penn made me a better human being, and for that I am grateful,” Dunphy said. “I am excited for the opportunity I am taking on at Temple. It is a great program with a history of success, and I look forward to continuing that tradition and keeping the Owls in the national spotlight.”
Dunphy replaces Hall of Fame coach John Chaney, who resigned as the Owls’ head coach on March 13 after leading the program to 516 wins and 15 NCAA tournament appearances in 24 years.
Cornell head coach Steve Donahue, an assistant coach under Dunphy from 1990-2000, attended the press conference in Philadelphia.
“[Dunphy has] been a great leader,” Donahue told the Daily Pennsylvanian. “He’s done a tremendous job.”
Early reports in the Daily Pennsylvanian and the Philadelphia Inquirer suggest that Donahue will be on the short list of candidates to fill the vacancy at Penn.
“We really think the world of coach Donahue and hope that, after this plays out, he’s still our guy,” said Cornell Athletics Director Andy Noel. “I really have not heard about the University of Pennsylvania’s plans and I think it’s probably premature [to speculate] now because it just happened [yesterday].”
With the transition to Temple, Dunphy becomes the first man to hold the position of coach at more than one of the Philadelphia Big Five schools. Dunphy’s coaching career in Philadelphia goes back 35 years, beginning with an assistant coaching position at La Salle in 1979.
During his tenure at Penn, the Quakers won a school-record 310 games and posted a 190-48 conference record, a league record that ranks him second all-time among coaches in conference victories. Penn won 10 league titles and competed in nine NCAA tournaments in the last 13 years. The latest Ivy championship and NCAA bid were earned this past season, which ended when the Quakers lost to Texas in the first round of the national tournament, 60-52.
Donahue was an assistant coach under Dunphy for 10 years, during which he helped with practice preparation, coaching, scouting and academic monitoring of players. During the decade he spent under Dunphy, Donahue helped the Quakers win six Ivy League titles in eight years and compete in the NCAA tournament five times.
In his six seasons at Cornell, Donahue is 58-105 overall and has coached the Red to a 31-53 record in the Ancient Eight. Donahue led the Red to a second-place finish during the2004-05 campaign – Cornell’s highest finish in 17 years – and was named the Ivy League’s Coach of the Year by collegeinsider.com. In 2005-06, the Red was 13-15 (8-6 Ivy) and finished third in the league rankings.