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Temple University: A Change at The Helm Brings New Promise to Men's Basketball Program

By Jeremy Goode, 04/12/23, 8:15PM EDT


PHILADELPHIA-- Adam Fisher has been hungry. After accepting the position of head coach of the Temple University men’s basketball team, he took his wife for a late-night bite at Wawa. But more importantly, the college basketball journeyman is finally able to chew on a new role -- head coach of a division I collegiate basketball program.

On April 5, Temple University’s athletic director, Arthur Johnson, and board chairman, Mitchell Morgan, introduced Adam Fisher as the 19th head coach of Temple basketball in front of a packed Fox Gittis Room at the Liacouras Center.

“I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder,” Fisher said. “I’m a manager. I did not play college basketball. I did not play in the NBA. People have looked at me and wondered if I know what I’m doing. I do; I do. But keep doubting me because I love it.”

After graduating from Penn State in 2006, Fisher’s coaching career began shortly after just 12 miles west of Temple at Big 5 rival Villanova University, where he was a graduate assistant for two years under Hall of Fame coach Jay Wright.

He then traveled north to Boston University, where he served as the Director of Operations for two years. The position led to the video coordinator job at his Penn State alma mater from 2011-12, where he was directly promoted to Director of Player Personnel from 2012-13.

Fisher then left to go south to the University of Miami, where he was able to serve as the Director of Operations for Jim Laranaga’s staff. After two seasons in this role, Fisher was promoted to assistant coach, in which he served for six seasons.

From 2021-23, Fisher returned to Happy Valley, where he served as associate head coach for the Nittany Lions under Micah Shrewsberry.

Throughout his 15 years working professionally in college basketball, it is clear that Fisher did his time climbing the ladder to ultimately land the prized position every college basketball coach looks for -- running their own program.

Temple's new head coach Adam Fisher addresses the media at the Liacouras center for the first time - PSD Video by Jeremy Goode

“I’ve told you that I am going to hire a great staff,” Fisher said. We’re going to bring in unbelievable student athletes. I think I’m going to be a great head coach. I think we have great leadership.”

Johnson, Morgan, and the hiring committee took their time looking for the right fit to lead the Temple Owls on the hardwood going forward. The committee took 16 days to officially name Fisher to the head coaching job. Johnson noted how significant a hire Fisher was, and how the University wanted to take the time necessary and speak to dozens of people in order to make the best decision for the basketball team and the university.

There were several key aspects Johnson focused on during the hiring process. While basketball was at the forefront, it branched out much further and started off the basketball court.

“Number one, I was looking for a good person,” Johnson said. “A good person who would make sure they would go to class, follow the rules, and make sure we graduate.”

Basketball wise, Johnson also zeroed in on certain aspects that particularly influence college basketball coaches in today’s game.

“I wanted a proven evaluator, a great recruiter, a developer of talent on and off the court, and I wanted high energy,” Johnson said. “As I talked to people in different settings and different areas, Adam’s name kept coming up.”

While Fisher is focused on putting a strong product on the court, he understands that these are student athletes. He emphasized that he expected his athletes to attend study hall right after the press conference was over.

Morgan agreed with Fisher’s approach to academics, which he believes is the best part of the university and its ultimate mission.

“That’s what drives me every day when I walk the grounds of this university that I see the students and we change lives here, every day,” Morgan said. “And Adam, I know you’re going to be excited about being a part of it.”

Historically, Fisher is aware of the high expectations the university and fanbase once had and still do for the Temple University basketball program. While recent seasons have been a struggle for the Owls, Fisher is eager to rebuild a program that once was had a national identity on the hardwood. Fisher believes staying in close contact with Temple basketball alumni is the key to getting back to winning ways.

“We need to continue the tradition that so many of the former players have created,” Fisher said. “It’s time to add to this legacy.”

Temple University's New Basketball Coach Adam Fisher welcomed by Athletic Director Arthur Johnson and Board Chairman Mitchell Morgan. (Photo/ Zamani Feelings)

Fisher along with his family were greeted by the Temple University Band. (Photo/ Zamani Feelings )

In terms of style of play, Fisher already has an idea of how he wants his team to play as he finalizes his coaching staff.

“We’re going to play loose and locked in. I need my guys to have fun,” Fisher said. “We’re going to shoot a lot of threes… I don’t have a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, (positions), I have basketball players.”

Fisher emphasized that his team would focus on spacing, rebounding, basic fundamentals including layups, and getting out and running on the fast break.

Temple guard Jahlil White was in attendance. Fisher plans to retain assistant coach Chris Clark as well. Clark served as the same position under prior coaches Fran Dunphy and Aaron McKie.

Throughout the press conference, Fisher was smiling ear to ear, joking occasionally, while confidently describing his excitement and hopes as the next head coach for men’s basketball at Temple.

Fisher took the time to personally address the current players who have stayed onboard. He preached patience, but also proclaimed that if everyone bought in and stayed the course, they would have a lot of success.

“We’re going to do something special; but I need you from day one, right away” Fisher said. “I can’t waste time having guys who don’t believe in it.”

Fisher enters Temple at an interesting time. It has been four years since the Owls have competed in the NCAA Tournament. It has been 22 years since Temple got to at least the Sweet 16. UCLA officially surpassed the Owls in overall wins, as Temple moved to six all-time in collegiate basketball wins at 1,977.

The lack of success and appearances in March basketball was certainly a point of emphasis for Fisher. He knows the long and successful history of Temple basketball. He is also familiar with the recent history of Temple basketball. One thing that Fisher made clear is that if his teams stick with the script, play together, work hard, and compete at their highest level, they would be playing basketball late into March.

“We’re going to work hard, we’re going to have fun, we’re going to be disciplined,” Fisher said. “But we’re going to play meaningful games in March. If you give me that, I’ll do everything I can to make sure you hear your name on selection Sunday.”