There is a simple reason that York High graduate Bruce Arians continues to be a big fan of Temple football and that the recently retired head coach of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals wanted to return to campus this past weekend.
“It was my first head coaching job, and the relationships I had with the guys” was great, Arians said at alumni day at Saturday’s spring practice.
Hired in 1983, Arians went 23-45 in six seasons at Temple, but the Owls annually played a highly ambitious schedule. In 1988, his final season, Temple went 3-8, but the Owls played three nationally ranked teams — Pittsburgh, Penn State and Florida.
He said the methods he used at Temple wouldn’t work today. For example, on “Black Sunday,” he made the team practice at 5:30 a.m. the day after a loss to Delaware.
“We had full-speed tackling, and you can’t do that anymore,” Arians said. “We learned a lesson that day, that you show up on Saturday when the game is scheduled, and we played really well after that.”
He said a big lesson he learned from being a head coach at Temple was to delegate authority. Back then, he wanted to do everything.
Temple win over PSU in 2015 meant a lot to Arians: Arians, who also attended a coaching clinic on Friday, said one of his proudest moments was the opening game of the 2015 season, when Temple beat Penn State for the first time in 74 years, 27-10.
“I was so proud, because I had my doubts that they were actually going to support the program well enough to get there,” Arians said. “With the facilities they have, the coaches they have, and he recruiting they are doing [things are on the upswing]. I had a lot of fun watching that Penn State game a few years back.”
Happy for Palmer's honor: Arians said he was thrilled that Paul Palmer, his star running back at Temple, will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December.
“I have coached a lot of football players, but, pound for pound, he was the best player I have coached,” Arians said.
NFL career: After leaving Temple, Arians became running backs coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, and he went on to become a fixture as an NFL offensive coordinator. A year after serving as interim coach of the Indianapolis Colts while head coach Chuck Pagano was treated for leukemia, Arians was hired as head coach at Arizona.
In five seasons with the Cardinals, Arians went 49-30-1 with two playoff appearances.
Looking at broadcasting career: Now 65, he said he does not anticipate a return to coaching.
“I don’t think so; I think it is gone,” he said about getting the coaching bug again. “I do want to work and am hoping to be in broadcasting and will find out something in the next few weeks if that is the next career for me, and I am looking forward to it if it is.”