Written by: Sam Cohn
It may be poetic justice that former Temple Basketball Head Coach Fran Dunphy was inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame Monday night on the floor of The Palestra, the mecca of Philadelphia basketball.
On a night to recognize many players and coaches, past and present, it was Fran Dunphy’s name that was uttered the most. Not just as Coach of the Year and Hall of Fame inductee, but as a thank you from each fellow inductee.
Former Penn Men’s basketball player Mark Zoller was one that said, “Coach Dunph, you always taught us that this is bigger than all of us.”
“It’s not about you, it’s not about you individually. Were you important as an individual? You certainly are,” said Dunphy about his coaching mantra. “But it’s about the team and we need to do the best we can in every facet of life.”
It’s important to note that Dunphy avoided the phrase, ‘thank you’ throughout much of his acceptance speech. Rather, he would specify his appreciation and gratitude for each person he’s been fortunate to work with. That slight difference can speak volumes to his true character.
Dunphy has had such a resounding impact on each basketball program he’s coached as well as each and every player that’s put on a jersey for him.
“The relationships you have with the players is pretty special. That’s the thing I’ll miss the most; that I don’t have a team, we don’t have a mission, we don’t have somewhere to go or a goal to reach,” said Dunphy.
As the Big 5 legend told stories and shared fond memories, the crowd hung on each and every last word. There was a sense of respect and admiration in the air for Dunphy.
Each speaker throughout the ceremony was adamant about the uniqueness and importance of Big 5 basketball in Philadelphia.
“I really believe this Big 5 rivalry is the best rivalry in the country,” said former Temple Women’s basketball player and fellow Hall of Fame inductee, Kamesha Hairston.
The Owls have been an intricate member of the Philadelphia Big 5 for so many years and Coach Dunphy marked his page in the history books beyond just the city limits.