In the last five years, Owls athletics , particularly the football program, saw a resurgence which resulted in the Owls two best seasons in program history, going 10-4 in consecutive years. The man who oversaw those teams, Patrick Kraft, stepped down as Temple’s Athletic Director and became the new AD for Boston College on Wednesday.
The 43 year old Kraft first served as the Deputy Director of Temple Athletics for two years before becoming Athletic Director. Kraft also has experience in executive roles at Loyola University-Chicago and at Indiana University. The move that served as a career defining one for Kraft was the hiring of Head Coach Matt Rhule. The Rhule-Kraft marriage started bumpy with the football program going 2-10 record in the first year. However, Rhule would have a bounce back 6-6 season. Although the second season did not result in a bowl bid, the Owls would play the best football the program had ever seen the following season.
The 2015 Owls started the year 7-0, catching the attention of the national media and earning their first national ranking since 1979. ESPN’s College Gameday made an appearance in Philadelphia for the #21 Owls showdown with #9 Notre Dame. Although the Owls fell in a close 24-20 contest, having the national spotlight on them for the first time in decades was a welcoming and refreshing sight, and Patrick Kraft helped orchestrate that. The 2015 Owls finished 10-4, and the following season would finish the regular season 9-3 under Rhule, and win its first AAC Championship, the first conference championship in school history since 1967.
The Owls would lose their respective bowl games in 2015 & 2016, but national attention, consecutive AAC Eastern Division titles and an AAC Conference title more than makes up for it. That resume landed Rhule the head coaching spot at Baylor, where he also revived their football program, and now Rhule is entering his first season as the Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers in the NFL.
As for Kraft, he hired Geoff Collins, who led the Owls to consecutive bowl games, including a Gasparilla Bowl win over FIU in 2017. After letting Collins go, Kraft hired current head coach Rod Carey who led the Owls to an 8-5 record and a bowl appearance in his first season.
In a statement on Kraft’s resignation, Temple University President Richard M. Englert states that, “Pat has been extraordinarily successful in his seven years here and Temple athletics has been run with enthusiasm and integrity, making us all proud Owls.” Perhaps even more impressive than bringing forth the revival of Temple Football, Kraft was wholly dedicated to ensure the success of every Owl not only on the field, but in the classrooms. This past fall, Temple student-athletes posted a 90 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR), which breaks the school record of 88 set in 2016 and 2017. It also marks the ninth straight year of either tying or setting a new mark in this all-important area. Temple is one of twelve FBS institutions to have an overall GSR ranked in the top 50 along with football and men’s basketball GSRs in top 30.
Patrick Kraft certainly left a lasting impression on Owls Athletics, the university, and President Englert, “we are grateful to Pat for all that he has done. I wish Pat, Betsy and their wonderful family every success in their new phase of their lives. But wherever they go, they will always be members of the Temple family.”
Kraft has agreed to stay at Temple through July 1 to help with the transition. As of June 3rd, there is no word on a potential replacement.