DAYTON, Ohio — Fran Dunphy’s three decades of coaching Big Five basketball came to a close Tuesday night with Temple’s First Four loss to Belmont.
Dunphy, 70, made plans last year to step away from coaching after one final season with the Owls. He took over at Temple in 2006. He coached at Penn for 17 seasons before moving across town in Philadelphia to take the Temple job. Dunphy said Tuesday night that his impending departure had not yet fully sunk in.
“I haven’t thought too much about it,” he said. “I will reflect in the coming days. I’m very appreciative of what Temple gave to me and what the University of Pennsylvania game to me. I’m a fortunate guy.”
Temple faded down the stretch of a back-and-forth game with Belmont on Tuesday night, losing 81-70. Dunphy made his way through the handshake line and back to Temple’s locker room without any extra emotion.
Belmont coach Rick Byrd, another longtime member of the college coaching fraternity, started his news conference Tuesday night by congratulating Dunphy on an “unbelievable career.”
“He is really one of, if not the, best guy in our business and a quality man,” Byrd said. “This game will miss him. So, I was fully prepared to be happy for him if we weren’t able to win this game because it’s his last year.”
Byrd’s team won in the NCAA tournament for the first time during his lengthy career at Belmont, and it will play sixth-seeded Maryland on Thursday.
Temple assistant Aaron McKie, who has worked with the Owls since 2014, takes over for Dunphy as head coach. Dunphy finishes his time at Temple with 270 wins, including two in the NCAA tournament. He won a total of 580 games during his 30 seasons as a head coach.