Passion is in the playbook for new head football coach
Head Football Coach Steve Addazio joined Temple last December from the University of Florida, where he had served as associate head coach and offensive coordinator. The Farmington, Conn., native brings a quarter-century of coaching experience to Temple, including appearances in 11 postseason bowl games in the past 15 years. He’s taken the reigns of a program that has achieved back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1978. Last season, the Owls posted an 8-4 record, finishing 5-3 in the Mid-American Conference East Division. The team returns 46 lettermen, including 13 starters.
As the Owls prepare for their season opener, Coach Addazio reflected on his coaching philosophy, Temple’s rising appeal and efforts to grow the Owls' fan base. The team opens the 2011 season against regional rival Villanova in the third annual Mayor's Cup at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday, Sept. 1. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (Tickets are available online at owlstix.com or Ticketmaster; students can pick them up at the Liacouras Center box office beginning Monday, Aug. 29.)
Temple Times: What are some of your goals as a first-year head coach?
Steve Addazio: Right now our focus is on beating Villanova on September 1. That’s our goal. At the same time, we want to build a team that’s physically tough, mentally tough and has a passion for the game.
Describe your philosophy when it comes to coaching?
S.A.: Our whole staff is hard-coaching. Our simple philosophy is that we’re going to coach them hard and love them hard, and we are going to have a passion for what we do. That's part of what it takes to have a tough football team. We want our team to have that kind of mindset as well, so beyond playing physical, playing hard, we want them to play with passion and have a love for the game.
TT: You come from the University of Florida, which is known for its die-hard fans. How do you see Temple’s fan base growing?
S.A.: I think it comes down to winning — continuing to win. Our ticket sales right now have doubled — obviously that comes from a couple of winning seasons. But two winning seasons do not create a change in culture, so we need to continue to have great commitment to the sport. This is a great sports city. And what we have to do is put a great product on the field. I believe that little by little (support from) not only the students here but the city itself will continue to grow.
TT: What makes Temple an attractive option for potential recruits?
S.A.: We’re talking about a great university here that has a national reputation academically, a beautiful campus right here in Philadelphia. In terms of football, we play an unbelievably competitive non-conference schedule. We're playing Notre Dame, Maryland, Penn State, Connecticut and Rutgers, so that’s big-time college football. We play at the Linc (Lincoln Financial Field), which is one of the great stadiums in the country. We're putting a new $9 million addition onto our practice facility here — were putting a bubble on the field. We have a new practice facility for basketball and new dorms being built, and enrollment and interest in urban campuses has never been higher. So there's great buzz for great reasons at Temple.
TT: What is your outlook on the upcoming season opener?
S.A.: We’re looking forward to September 1 and watching this team roll out in the Linc, our home field, to play a great crosstown rivalry game. I’m just awfully excited to see the team take the field after a hard training camp. It’s an opportunity for these kids to start the 2011 season with great momentum.