More than two weeks after Texas Longhorns associate head coach/run game coordinator/running backs coach Stan Drayton was initially mentioned as a candidate to receive his first head-coaching opportunity with the Temple Owls, he’s now emerging as the top choice, according to the Philadephia Inquirer.
In fact, new Temple athletics director Arthur Johnson, a longtime Texas administrator who took the job back in October, is reportedly in advanced negotiations with Drayton, who was touted as a future head coach by Tom Herman when he hired Drayton in early 2017. An announcement could come as soon as this week.
It appears Stan Drayton to Temple is pretty much official at this point, according to my sources. Fantastic opportunity for Coach Drayton. Great man. Positive role model. A loss for Texas but a well-deserved promotion for Drayton.— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) December 15, 2021
Later on Wednesday afternoon, Football Scoop reported that Drayton accepted the position. Temple made it official not long thereafter.
“I am excited to bring Stan Drayton back to Philadelphia as the next head football coach of Temple University,” said Arthur Johnson, Temple Vice President and Director of Athletics. “I had a chance to get to know Stan while we worked together at the University of Texas. He is an outstanding football coach and an even better person. He knows what success looks like at the highest levels of football. He also knows what it takes to be successful in this city having spent six years of his career here and learned from two of the city’s legendary football coaches.”
”This truly is a dream come true for me,” said Drayton. “Philadelphia has always held a special place in my heart as my wife, Monique, and I got married while we lived here. I’m so thankful to [Temple University president] Dr. Wingard, Arthur Johnson, and the Temple community for this great opportunity.”
Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian addressed the breaking news during his Early Signing Day press conference.
“First of all, if it works out I’m super excited for Stan,” Sarkisian said. “It’s a great opportunity — we all work extremely hard to progress in whatever our profession is. Ours happens to be coaching and as you work through it and you’re an assistant, you bounce around, there’s a lot of moving in our profession. There’s a lot of stress that gets put on our families and what not. So if you can get this opportunity and that’s something that’s what he wants to do, I wish him the best of luck and couldn’t be more excited for him and his family, they’re wonderful people.”
On Tuesday, Bruce Feldman reported that Johnson was down to Drayton and Rutgers defensive backs coach Fran Brown, a former Temple assistant. But the relationship between Drayton and Johnson may have tipped the scales in favor of the Texas assistant.
Called a “home-run hire” by Herman nearly five years ago, Drayton was one of two assistants retained by new head coach Steve Sarkisian this season, in part because of his recent success as a recruiter, but also because Drayton is known as one of the best running backs coaches in all of football.
“Stan is a great coach, he’s a really good leader of men. I think you see his coaching style in the way the running backs play — they play hard, they play tough, play smart, and that’s what he really instills in them on the football field, but as much of that is what he instills in them off the field. I think he raises young men to become men and to become better citizens in society.”
The Cleveland, Ohio native won a Division III national championship in 1990 as a running back at Allegheny, where started his coaching career in 1993. After stints at Eastern Michigan, Penn, Villanova, and Bowling Green, Drayton spent three years with the Green Bay Packers as an offensive quality control coach and special teams assistant. In 2004, Drayton returned to college football as an assistant at Mississippi State before reuniting with Urban Meyer at Florida for three seasons.
When Drayton was hired by Meyer again at Ohio State, he had one of the most successful stints of his coaching career, mentoring Carlos Hyde to a 1,500-yard season in 2013 and then helping Meyer and Herman win a national championship with Ezekiel Elliott leading the way on the ground.
In two years back in the NFL on the coaching staff with the Chicago Bears, Drayton helped fifth-round pick Jordan Howard set a franchise rookie rushing record in 2016.
At Texas, Drayton was responsible for recruiting and developing Bijan Robinson, the nation’s No. 1 running back in the 2020 class, as well as helping former high school quarterback Roschon Johnson adjust seamlessly to the position.
With Drayton reportedly taking the Temple job, Texas may be able to approximate Drayton’s recruiting success, but finding another coach as capable of developing running backs may be next to impossible.
One early name to watch may be Director of Recruiting Brandon Harris, who served as a running backs assistant under Drayton before taking over the recruiting role from Bryan Carrington when Carrington left for USC this year.
But Harris may have to wait his turn because Drayton set a high bar for the coaching expectations at the running back position on the Forty Acres.
“[Drayton] will be missed and at the end of the day that creates another opportunity for us to go hire somebody else and obviously the standard has been set for what’s expected in that room.”