Written by and Image by: Gianfranco Illiano
On Tuesday, April 2nd, Temple University introduced its new men’s basketball coach Aaron McKie.
McKie, a former Temple Owl who went on to play for the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers, says becoming the head coach of Temple basketball is “truly a dream come true.”
At the podium, it was evident this was a special moment for McKie, who got very emotional when discussing his high school coach Bill Ellerbee.
“You gave me discipline and you showed me tough love,” McKie said, glancing at coach Ellerbee. “You put me in the race of life and you taught me how to be a leader.”
Everyone knows about the stellar career Aaron McKie had in college and the NBA, the coaches he’s been around, the players he’s played with such as Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant, but what kind of coach are the Temple Owls getting?
“Aaron is the perfect coach to lead our program with his background as a former outstanding player and assistant coach as well as with his Philadelphia basketball roots,” Temple’s Director of Athletics Dr. Patrick Kraft said. “He also understands what it means to be Temple TUFF, and the commitment it takes to be a winner. Aaron is a man of great character, who is active in the community through his AM8 foundation. We are so fortunate to have him take over the reins of the program.”
Former Temple men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy says he’s very proud of McKie and thinks he’ll do a terrific job coaching the Owls.
“Aaron is such a Temple guy, everything about him screams Temple and Philadelphia,” Dunphy said. “He’s a one of a kind and I thought when he spoke about Coach Ellerbee— the emotions that he showed are a great sign of leadership… I think he’ll represent Temple proudly.”
When asked what stands out about coach McKie, Dunphy talked about his righteousness.
“His character, his integrity, his sense of who he is,” Dunphy said. “I think he’s got the kids’ best interest at heart, but they’re not going to be able to fool him because he’s been there, he’s lived the life that they would love to lead.”
As far as bringing in talented players to Broad Street, former Temple guard Shizz Alston Jr. says McKie definitely has an advantage when it comes to recruiting.
“He’s more relatable,” Alston Jr. said. “We all grew up looking at Aaron McKie, especially because he’s from Philly. I think a lot of Philly guys will start to come here— he’s like an icon, Philly through and through, played for the Sixers with [Allen] Iverson, so I think he’ll bring that dynamic.”
Dr. Kraft pointed out McKie’s experience should grab the attention of the top recruits in the Philadelphia area.
“He’s been coaching for a long time and has been around legendary coaches– that’s an inherent advantage,” Kraft said. “He’s a lot of what college basketball coaches try to be. He’s done it on the court, he’s done it on the bench.”