Rodriguez, Whitehead drafted

Former Temple players, tight end Evan Rodriguez and linebacker Tahir Whitehead, were drafted by the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions, respectively, on the third day of the NFL Draft.

Rodriguez was drafted 111th overall in the fourth round and Whitehead was selected 138th overall in the fifth round. Rodriguez and Whitehead join former Temple running back Bernard Pierce, who was drafted 84th overall by the Baltimore Ravens, to become the second and third players drafted.

Rodriguez led the Owls with 35 receptions and 479 yards, adding two touchdowns, in the 2011-12 season. Whitehead finished third on the team with 70 tackles, including 11 in the 2011 Gildan New Mexico Bowl in which he was named the game’s defensive most valuable player.

Coach Steve Addazio said Wednesday that he expected three Temple players to get drafted, and another four to sign as free agents. Former Temple offensive lineman Derek Dennis is reportedly receiving looks from NFL teams and could be the fourth Owl drafted.

Pierce drafted 84th overall

Former Temple running back Bernard Pierce was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens with the 21st pick (84th overall) of the third round of the NFL Draft on Friday.

Pierce becomes the third Temple player in the past two years to get drafted, joining former Owls Muhammad Wilkerson and Jaiquawn Jarrett of the 2011 class. Wilkerson was drafted by the New York Jets with the 30th overall pick of the first round and Jarrett was selected 54th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Pierce set Temple career and single-season records for  rushing yards, touchdowns and points in his junior season in 2011-12. He finished the year second in the country in rushing touchdowns with 27.

Pierce now has a chance to join Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice in the Ravens’ backfield.

Men qualify for final day events at Penn Relays Day 2

Temple’s second day of the Penn Relays has come and gone, and in the midst of some stellar performances by some of the bigger programs at Franklin Field, the Owls quietly chipped in some solid performances of their own.

Unlike Thursday, Friday’s competition was dominated by men’s events.

The men’s distance medley relay, consisting of redshirt senior Louis Parisi, senior Alan Harding, sophomore Will Kellar and senior distance runner Travis Mahoney, finished second in the ‘B’ heat of the college men’s Distance Medley Relay Championship of America. Harding moved up from fifth to second in the 400 meter leg in a furious last 200 meters, and the final two legs in Keller and Mahoney held the spot.

The men’s 4×100 and 4×200 relays both qualified for the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America finals, to be held Saturday, for the respective events.

The 4×100, consisting of sophomores Josh McFrazier and Alex McGee, and juniors Dylan Pensyl and Damian Myers, placed 35th overall with a time of 41.98 seconds. Pensyl and McFrazier teamed up with sophomores Tyreece Clayton and Carlton Stafford to finish 33rd overall in the 4×200 with a mark of 1:29.46. The 4×100 will be looking to go after a second consecutive IC4A title tomorrow afternoon after last year’s squad won the event’s first gold medal in program history.

The men’s 4×400 finished as the runners-up in the Wetzler/Pa heat. McGee, Harding, Myers and sophomore Lionel Wilson combined for a time of 3:17.16 and finished ahead of rival St. Joseph’s, which finished third.

In field events, sophomore Darryl McDuffle and senior Tim Malloy tied for fourth and seventh respectively in the high jump eastern. McDuffle posted a jump of six feet, nine and three-quarter inches while Malloy jumped for a height of 6-6.75.

In the women’s only event of the day, the sprint medley relay, consisting of Crystal Hercules, Kiersten LaRoche, Brianna Alverez, Shanel Golding, crossed at 4:08.56 to take 30th place.

-Drew Parent

Mahoney highlights Day 1 at Penn Relays

Senior distance runner Travis Mahoney made his last career Penn Relays appearance for Temple Thursday, and did not disappoint.

The only men’s participant in Thursday’s events for Temple, Mahoney finished second with a silver medal in the men’s 3000 meter steeplechase championship, placing with a time of 8 minutes and 48.18 seconds. Mahoney was the runner up to winner Andrew Poore of Indiana, who crossed at 8:43.52 to win the gold.

Freshman thrower Margo Britton shined in her Penn Relays debut, throwing for a distance of 51 feet, 6 ½ inches in the women’s shot-put and placing second. Britton would cap off her day with a 15th place finish in the women’s discus throw with a distance of 140-5.

The women’s field events continued to impress as senior thrower Alanna Owens placed second in the shot-put eastern with a throw of 47-3. Freshman jumper Kiersten LaRoche also made an impressive Penn Relays debut with Temple, placing eighth in the long jump eastern with a jump of 18-7.

Junior sprinters Isatta Kenneh and Dia Dorsey, senior sprinters Andrea Butler, and sophomore sprinter Gennie Depass made up a women’s 4×100 team that placed 26th out of a total of 82 teams with a time of 47.5 seconds. The women’s 4×400 relay, consisting of sophomore sprinter Ambrosia Iwugo, freshman sprinter Michelle Davis Timothy, junior middle distance runner Tonney Smith, and junior sprinter Sheina Roberts, also placed 26th and crossed with a time of 3:44.19.

Drew Parent

Athletics committee meets post Big East

The Athletics Committee of the Board of Trustees met today for the first time since it was announced that Temple would enter the Big East for football in 2012 and all sports in 2013.

Temple coach Steve Addazio addressed board members on the future of the football team, the facilities the team needs to stay competitive and taking the next step as a program.

“We couldn’t be in a better position right now,” Addazio said. “The key is to keep that ball moving forward.”

Addazio compared Temple’s current situation to when Temple was kicked out of the Big East in 2001, when Addazio was a part of the coaching staff at Syracuse.

“Temple was in the Big East, but everything else wasn’t,” Addazio said, referring to facilities. “I was at Syracuse at that time. Temple didn’t have what we had.”

Upon requests from the board, Addazio identified aspects of Temple’s current facilities that could be improved to make the team more competitive. Addazio said the school is working on indoor facilities, such as a weight room, a banquet hall and a new training room.

“We need to get recruits saying, ‘Wow, that’s really cool,’ instead of me having to explain to them why there’s not a picture on the wall,” Addazio said.

Athletics chair Lewis Katz went over Temple’s upcoming Big East schedule, which includes home games against South Florida, Cincinnati, Rutgers and Syracuse, asking “Are we competitive?”

Addazio said he will put together a competitive team that the board will be proud of, but insisted that competitiveness isn’t what the university should settle for.

“How do we start to push ourselves above just being a competitive team?” Addazio said.

Pizza truck stops at Temple

Pitruco, the mobile wood-fired pizza truck, has made its stop at Temple today.

The truck travels throughout Philadelphia serving Neopolitan-inspired pizza on weekdays. The menu is made up of a variety of personal, wood-fired pizzas, ranging from traditional margherita to a radicchio specialty.

Pitruco sits outside Tyler School of Art on Main Campus near 12th and Norris streets every Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pitruco stops at LOVE Park on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Drexel on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


Dunphy named Big 5 Coach of the Year

Men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy was named the Big 5 Coach of the Year for the third consecutive year, it was announced Tuesday, joining redshirt-senior guard Ramone Moore, junior guard Khalif Wyatt and senior guard Juan Fernandez, all of whom also earned honors.

Dunphy led Temple (24-8, 3-1 Big 5) to its first outright Atlantic Ten Conference regular season title since 1989-90 and the team’s fifth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, despite missing senior forward Scootie Randall for the entire season and graduate center Micheal Eric for 13 games.

Moore and Wyatt were All Big 5 First Team selections, while Fernandez was named to the All Big 5 Second Team. Joining Moore and Wyatt on First Team are Villanova’s Maalik Wayns, St. Joseph’s Langston Galloway and Penn’s Zack Rosen, who was named the Big 5 Player of the Year. The Second Team consisted of three La Salle players, Tyreek Duren, Ramon Galloway and Earl Pettis, and Carl Jones and C.J. Aiken of St. Joe’s, along with Fernandez.

Temple was named the Big 5 Team of the Year.

Students gather for Trayvon Martin

Students gathered at the Bell Tower on Thursday afternoon to protest the killing of Florida high school student Trayvon Martin.

Students, some wearing hoods, shouted, “I am Trayvon Martin. Do I look suspicious?” as they circled the Bell Tower in march.

Martin, an African American, was shot and killed after a scuffle in Sanford, Fla. on Feb. 26. George Zimmerman, 28, a self-appointed watchman of the community north of Orlando, was found with a handgun, standing over Martin’s dead body.

The scuffle began after Zimmerman saw Martin, who was wearing his hood up and walking home from a convenience store, and placed a 911 call, claiming that the 17-year-old Martin “looked suspicious.”

Martin was found with no weapons or drugs on him, only a pack of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea.

Zimmerman has not been arrested in connection with Martin’s death.

Big East football schedule announced

Temple’s Big East schedule for football for the 2012 season is now official.

The Owls, which gained entry back into the Big East for all sports on March 8 after being booted from the league in 2004, will play games against seven Big East opponents and nine total games against schools from power conferences this season.

Temple will host South Florida on Oct. 6, Rutgers on Oct. 20, Cincinnati on Nov. 10 and Syracuse on Nov. 23, while traveling to face Connecticut on Oct. 13, Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, and Louisville on Nov. 3.

Temple will also face Atlantic Coast Conference opponent Maryland at home on Sept. 8 and will travel to State College, Pa. to face in-state rival Penn State on Sept. 22.

Here’s a complete breakdown of the Owls’ schedule:

2012 Temple Football Schedule

Date                   Opponent                             Site TV
Fri., Aug. 31       VILLANOVA                         Lincoln Financial Field
Sat., Sept. 8       MARYLAND                        Lincoln Financial Field
Sat., Sept. 22     at Penn State                           University Park, Pa.
Sat., Oct. 6         *SOUTH FLORIDA Lincoln Financial Field
Sat., Oct. 13        *at Connecticut                 East Hartford, Conn.
Sat., Oct. 20       *RUTGERS Lincoln Financial Field
Sat., Oct. 27        *at Pittsburgh                    Pittsburgh, Pa.
Sat., Nov. 3         *at Louisville                      Louisville, Ky.
Sat., Nov. 10       *CINCINNATI Lincoln Financial Field
Sat., Nov. 17       at Army                                West Point, N.Y.
Fri., Nov. 23        *SYRACUSE Lincoln Financial Field

Temple to join Big East in all sports

Temple football will join the Big East for the 2012 season, while all other sports will be added for the 2013 season, multiple sources have confirmed.

The Owls will give the Big East eight football teams, along with Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Louisville, Rutgers, Cincinnati and South Florida, for the 2012 season.

Temple was a founding member of Big East football in 1991 before being booted out of the conference in 2004 for a lack of university support. Since then, the Owls have turned the program around with the help from coaches Al Golden and Steve Addazio, who have guided Temple to two bowl games and a bowl victory since Temple got kicked out.

Boise State and San Diego State will join the conference as football-only members for the 2013-14 season, while Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF will be added as all-sports members. Navy will join for football only in 2015.

If Pittsburgh and Syracuse, which have already negotiated exits to the Atlantic Coast Conference, cannot leave the Big East prior to the 2013 season, the conference would have 14 football schools and 20 basketball schools during that year.