Aaron McKie a natural fit for Temple

Ed Benkin
April 02, 2019 - 8:48 pm
Aaron McKie was introduced as Temple's new head coach on Tuesday after working as an assistant coach last season.

Ed Benkin/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Aaron McKie knew last year he would become the head coach at Temple University. The moment was still an emotional one when it became official.

McKie was introduced as Temple's new head coach on Tuesday after working as an assistant coach last season. The move was charted out a year ago when McKie was promoted to associate head coach after the school announced Fran Dunphy would coach one more season.  

However, there was still plenty of anticipation by the Owls' new head coach before he arrived at McGonigle Hall.

"I didn't sleep," said McKie. "I was up all night. Temple took a chance on me in '90 as a student athlete, and now they are taking a chance on me as a coach. It's like the stock market. You put some money into some high risk stocks. It comes with a lot of risks, but the dividends that can pay out can be awesome." 

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McKie is quite familiar to Philadelphia basketball fans; He played his high school ball at Simon Gratz High School before moving on to Temple and would later play 13 seasons in the NBA. Several of those seasons were with the Philadelphia 76ers, and McKie was part of the team's run to the finals in 2001.  

McKie served as an assistant in the NBA before joining Temple's staff in 2013. After being named as Dunphy's successor, McKie spent this past season as an associate head coach to prepare for the responsibilities of running the program.

"College is a difficult job," McKie said. "There are so many working parts to it. It's like being your own CEO. Just all the things that are coming on my desk and the emails that I'm getting that I have to respond to. You're not aware of it as an assistant coach. I think the basketball part will take care of itself. It's the things outside the basketball part that I'm still trying to figure out."

Dunphy and another former Temple coach, John Chaney, were in attendance as McKie was formally introduced as head coach. Chaney was McKie's coach at Temple and the Hall of Fame legend is thrilled to see McKie stepping into his old job and to see Temple find a fit from the Delaware Valley.

"It's very difficult for coaches," said Chaney. "When you stay within acres of diamonds right here in Philadelphia, that's amazing. Sometimes, they go searching for coaches from all out."

McKie will take over a Temple program that reached the NCAA Tournament last month before falling in a play-in game. It was just the second NCAA appearance in the past six seasons and McKie is setting his sights high for the coming years. 

McKie pointed out that Temple is the fifth winningest program in college basketball and plans to greatly increase that victory total during his tenure.

"My goal will be to build a perennial conference champion," McKie said. "To build it though our core values of hard work, toughness, commitment and consistency. I need kids with heart and with a mindset that they will not be outworked, outsmarted, or outplayed."