Every time any national program asks the “experts” who are the best coaches in college basketball, there is one name that is almost never mentioned. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo deserve all the respect and attention they get, they are both legendary coaches. But there is a coach in the Big 5 who deserves some respect. His team has already beaten a highly ranked Big East team this year and he has an unmistakable look. No, it’s not Villanova’s well dressed Jay Wright, its Temple’s Fran Dunphy and his great mustache. Wright and his staff get the luxury of showing their recruits the Big East Schedule and have the benefit of all the Main Line money. Wright is a great coach, and he has a very good chance of leading his Wild Cats to national championship at some point. But Dunphy has consistently had a lot less to work with and fails to receive a lot of praise.
When legendary Temple Basketball coach John Chaney decided to retire. Many people thought that there was no one out there that could do the job he did over the previous 24 years. Chaney, a Basketball Hall of Fame inductee in 2001, led temple to over 500 wins and 8 Atlantic 10 Championships. Philly’s own Fran Dunphy was chosen as Chaney’s successor. Dunphy had made the University of Pennsylvania’s basketball ball team the “powerhouse” of the Ivy League.
Fran Dunphy is as Philadelphia as the cheese steak. He was born in Drexel Hill, he currently lives in Villanova Pennsylvania and has seemingly never left the area. Dunphy began his basketball career while playing basketball and earning a bachelor’s degree at LaSalle. He then continued his journey around the “Big 5” and get his Masters degree at Villanova. Dunphy was also an assistant at LaSalle before he joined the University of Pennsylvania’s coaching staff as an assistant. He was named the head coach in 1989.
Over the next 17 years, he made it seem as though it was a yearly ritual for Penn’s basketball team to go the NCAA tournament. They won the Ivy League title and represented the conference in the NCAA tournament in ten of those seasons. After his first 3 season has the head coach, Penn finished 1st or 2nd in the Ivy League every year but one. Dunphy was able to recruit talent despite haiving no scholarships to give out. When Dunphy was named Temple’s head coach in 2007, a lot of people didn’t think he would succeed. He was going to have coach a completely different player then he did at Penn. He was able to coach and mold the kids Penn, but how would he react to the talent and egos he would coach at Temple. Fran has more than answered the critics and has proven he is a great basketball coach. He has led Temple to Atlantic Ten Championships in 3 of his four seasons, including the last 3.
Fran Dunphy is a great coach who has coached or attended school at 4 of the Big 5 schools. He is Philadelphia through and through. Will he ever have a team that is capable of winning a national championship? It’s very likely it will never happen for Fran at Temple but that shouldn't take away from the great job he has done. When Dunphy hangs up his playbook and steps away from the game he loves, he should be remembered as one of greatest coaches in the history of Philadelphia.