Temple Basketball: Fran Dunphy’s career with Owls ends in heartbreaking fashion

The Temple basketball team came up short in the play-in game for the 2019 NCAA Tournament on Tuesday after suffering an 81-70 loss to Belmont.

Since 2006, Fran Dunphy has been the heart and soul of Temple basketball, after the head coach was faced with the ultimate challenge of replacing an absolute legend in John Chaney.

Unfortunately, Dunphy’s time with the Owls came to an official end Tuesday night when the team came up short during the play-in game against Belmont 81-70 for this year’s NCAA tournament

Even though the Owls have known since April this would be Dunphy’s final season as head coach, it still doesn’t make what happened with the Bruins on Tuesday any easier to deal with.

After an impressive 2018-19 campaign, Temple rightfully earned a No. 11 seed in the East Region, and while some will view the Owls having to participate in the play-in game unfair, this shouldn’t take away from the amazing run put together by the team during their final year with Dunphy.

The beginning of his head coaching career with the Owls didn’t exactly get off to the best start after Dunphy went 12-18 during the 2006-07 season, but watching Temple reach the big tournament in seven of the next nine seasons shows the kind of impact he made.

Once it was announced that Temple would be playing in their first tournament since 2016, the Owls wanted nothing more than to end Dunphy’s career with the team on a positive note by at least getting by Belmont before meeting Maryland the following round.

At the end of the day, the Bruins were simply too much for the Owls to handle in this year’s tournament, but this loss shouldn’t take away from the incredible 13-year career put together by Dunphy with Temple.

With Dunphy officially calling it a career, the Owls will now turn to Aaron McKie, who certainly deserves the gig after looking at the job he’s done over the years as part of Temple’s coaching staff on top of his previous career with the school, and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Only time will tell when it comes to seeing if McKie has what it takes to fill the void Dunphy leaves behind, but the Owls never would have felt comfortable with this decision if they didn’t feel confident in his ability to make sure Temple continues to be a top competitor in the AAC.