Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Success Raises Stadium, Coach Issues at Temple

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Success Raises Stadium, Coach Issues at Temple

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA - Temple can picture the scene now: Set to open his eighth year as coach, Matt Rhule bursts through the tunnel on opening day of another brisk football Saturday to lead the Owls out in front of 35,000 fans packed in a sparking $100 million stadium. Temple students can simply walk to the on-campus game. Alumni who never cared for the antiseptic gameday feel at Lincoln Financial Field can hop the regional rail and get pumped for a true home game. Even neighbors who whined about the possibility of beer cans kicked around their yards are on board as Norman Fell Memorial Stadium helps make North Philly rock for seven weekends each year.

Buoyed by this year's surprising success that has made Temple matter, the university has big dreams and friends with deep pockets of making sure the No. 21 Owls aren't a one-year wonder.

The first step, gaining approval for an on-campus stadium that could be ready for the 2020 season.

Then, making sure Rhule has the stadium and fat contract needed to entice him to eschew potential Big Five offers in favor of sticking around and building the Boise State of the American Athletic Conference.

Temple has Rhule, but maybe not for long. The Owls play in the Linc, but maybe not for long.

The 2015 Owls (8-1, 5-0 AAC) could be remembered as much for reshaping the future of the program as they are for beating Penn State and taking Notre Dame to the wire in defeat.

"There is no surprise in what's happening, Temple athletic director Patrick Kraft said. "Absolutely we can maintain this success. Matt's done a great job of building a culture of success.

The Owls would love to dump a rental payment at the Linc and move into their own digs for the first time in program history.

Temple's board of trustees is set to meet in December and a stadium is on the agenda, but what will come out of the meeting is unclear.

"Right now, it's trying to find out if we can even feasibly do it, Kraft said this week. "We've got to work with the city. Can we raise the money? We're having conversations and that's good. But we're on a fact-finding mission.

Rhule, in his third season, is all for a stadium. …

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