- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Steve Addazio has never been a college football head coach before, but Temple is banking on his recruiting ties in the Northeast and his track record as an assistant at some high-profile schools to take its program to the next level.
Addazio was introduced as Temple head coach Thursday at a news conference in Philadelphia, saying he had waited a long time to be a football head coach. Indeed he has, having served as an assistant at Indiana, Syracuse, Notre Dame and most recently as offensive coordinator at Florida.
He said all the right things, about wanting to be a tough football team, about taking a program Al Golden turned around and "building an elite program." Athletic director Bill Bradshaw cited Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer, who spoke highly of all Addazio's accomplishments. "Steve matched our vision for what Temple football could become," Bradshaw said.
"I couldn't write a better script for me," Addazio said. "This is where my family and me want to be. We want to build and grow this program."
It might be hard for some Temple fans to get excited about this hire, considering all the scrutiny Addazio faced this season at Florida. The Gators were uncharacteristically unproductive on offense. In four losses, Florida scored 14 points or fewer, and the Gators ranked No. 80 in the nation in total offense. Most fans were looking forward to him being dumped from the coaching staff with new coach Will Muschamp taking over.
When asked about his offensive philosophy at the news conference, Addazio talked about not wanting to fit "a round peg in a square hole." But that is exactly what the Gators tried to do this season with John Brantley, a drop-back passer the Gators tried to fit into their spread offense.
Addazio said he will hire an offensive coordinator at Temple, but will remain involved in the offense. But for all the heat Addazio took this year, remember he is the one who was interim coach at Florida last season when Meyer decided to take his leave of absence. Addazio held together one of the top recruiting classes in the country. And oh by the way, recruiting is one of his major strengths.
He said it "was a great experience for me" and he is grateful to Meyer and athletic director Jeremy Foley for entrusting him with the program. Addazio will coach Florida in the Outback Bowl against Penn State on Jan. 1 before taking over at Temple.
Now that he has a program all of his own, he is going to have his work cut out for him to continue what Golden started.
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