Fran Dunphy is Here to Save the La Salle Basketball Program
From the great Mike Jensen at The Philadelphia Inquirer:
— Mike Jensen (@jensenoffcampus) April 5, 2022
“According to multiple sources, Dunphy is taking the job after he himself tried to convince several others, including former assistant Matt Langel, now Colgate’s successful head coach, to take it. Dunphy’s concern, one alumnus close to him said, is for the institution itself, beyond the basketball program.”
That is a LOADED paragraph, but there’s nothing about it that should come as a surprise. La Salle went on that amazing Sweet 16 run with Dr. John and Tyrone Garland almost ten years ago now. It feels like the Southwest Philly Floater happened yesterday, but it didn’t, it’s been nearly a decade. Since then, they’ve only posted one winning record, and Ashley Howard was let go after four seasons that amounted to 45 wins, 70 losses, and zero NCAA or NIT tournament appearances. A bunch of their guys entered the transfer portal and the rest of the A10 feels like it’s light years ahead.
Dunphy is 73 but La Salle is his alma mater and he had two previous assistant coaching gigs there. This is a macro-level stabilizing move. They are trying to renovate Tom Gola arena and keep this program afloat at the same time. Fran is definitely a guy who can do that. Bridge the gap, settle things down, get the project done, and then pass it off. In a way, Fran Dunphy is kind of like that guy Marcus Lemonis from The Profit television show. He comes in, fixes the process, gets everything running smoothly again, and then steps aside to let the business run. That’s what’s happening here.
Remember, Dunph hasn’t coached in three years. He stepped aside from the Temple gig in 2019 and became the Owls’ interim Athletic Director. For all intents and purposes, he was hanging ’em up (we think, unless he was nudged), but then along comes this La Salle job and you feel OBLIGATED to take it, #1 because no one else will, but #2 because you feel a responsibility to patch things up until the program is on steady footing again.