Temple fires football coach Carey after 3 lackluster seasons

FILE - Temple head coach Rod Carey watches during an NCAA college football game against Navy at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa., on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. Temple has fired coach Rod Carey after three seasons with the school, according to a person with knowledge of the decision. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press on Monday, Nov. 29, because the firing was not officially announced.(Tyger Williams/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Temple fired coach Rod Carey on Monday after three seasons with the school, ending a tenure that started with a bowl game and finished with a combined two conferences wins in the last two seasons.

The Owls completed a 3-9 season on Saturday with their seventh straight lopsided loss, falling to Navy 38-14.

“It’s never an easy decision to replace a head coach,” Temple athletic director Arthur Johnson said. “The past two seasons have not been easy with the challenges of the pandemic. I want to thank Rod for staying committed to our student-athletes and wish him and his family well in their next chapter.”

Thad Ward was named interim head coach.

Carey went 12-20 at the Philadelphia-based school after being hired away from Northern Illinois in January 2019. He went just 4-15 over the last two seasons. Carey was only 2-13 in the American Athletic Conference over the last two seasons.

The unusual timing of his hiring was the result of Manny Diaz taking the Temple job after Geoff Collins left for Georgia Tech, but soon after Diaz was hired by Miami.

Carey was 52-30 with six winning seasons in seven years leading NIU, and he guided Temple to an 8-5 record in 2019.

But the Owls went 1-6 last year in a season wrecked by COVID-19 issues and then finished tied for last in the American this year. The Owls lost their last seven games.

“I’ve never been through a bad streak like this,” Carey said after Saturday’s loss. “Our team stayed together.”

Earlier this year, Temple finally hired a replacement for the athletic director who had hired Carey. Johnson, a veteran administrator who most recently worked at Texas, was named Temple AD in October. Temple tried for years to build an on-campus stadium to help boost interest and create revenue but instead is stuck playing at cavernous Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Temple played in five straight bowl games from 2015 to 2019.