By Julie Glass

Temple finally owned up to the worst-kept secret in Big 5 history:

Aaron McKie will replace Fran Dunphy as basketball coach after the 2018-19 season.

Here’s the official release:

The university announced on Wednesday that coach Fran Dunphy will step down after the 2018-19 season and be replaced by assistant coach Aaron McKie. The Athletic’s Seth Davis first reported the news on March 30.   

“Fran Dunphy is one of the greatest coaches in the history of Philadelphia college basketball and an icon in the world of college hoops,” Athletic Director Pat Kraft said in a statement. “The championships, NCAA Tournament appearances and personal accolades are tremendous, but what is more impressive is Fran’s impact on the hundreds of student-athletes he has coached and the universities that have been positively enhanced by his presence. We look forward to a great 2018-19 season and will continue to do all that we can to support Fran and the team.”  

President Richard Englert said in a statement that he and Board of Trustees Chair Patrick O’Connor decided on McKie succeeding Dunphy based on Kraft’s recommendation. John Chaney, who Dunphy succeeded as coach in the 2006-07 season, called the move “a wonderful transfer of leadership” in a statement.

McKie, who joined the staff as an assistant at Temple during the 2014-15 season, will be made the Owls’ associate head coach for the 2018-19 season. OwlScoop.com reported that McKie will have a five-year contract as coach starting in the 2019-20 season. Before joining Temple’s staff, McKie served as an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers for six seasons.

McKie had a large role in recruiting Temple’s current freshman class, including guard Nate Pierre-Louis and forward De’Vondre Perry.  

McKie, a former Temple player, averaged 17.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game from 1991-94 and won the Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year award as a sophomore. He then played in the NBA from 1994-2007 on teams like the Portland Trail Blazers, Detroit Pistons, 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers.

“I am honored and humbled to follow legendary coaches John Chaney and Fran Dunphy in leading the storied Temple program, and I am grateful for President Englert and Dr. Kraft’s belief in me to have success,” McKie said. “There will be plenty of time to talk about the future, but right now, my focus is on supporting coach Dunphy and our incredible student-athletes as we work hard in the offseason to get ready for the 2018-19 season.”

Dunphy, who is the all-time winningest coach in Big 5 history, has helped the Owls reach the postseason nine times, which includes seven trips to the NCAA Tournament. Six of those seven appearances in the tournament came within Dunphy’s first seven years at Temple. The Owls haven’t made the NCAA Tournament in four of the past five seasons.

Temple’s (17-16, 8-10 American Athletic Conference) season ended in a 63-57 loss to Penn State in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament on March 14 at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pennsylvania.

“Coaching and teaching have been my life for a long time, and I have been so blessed and honored to stay home in Philadelphia and coach at three legendary and world-class universities,” Dunphy said in a university statement. “While the decision to step down after next season is a difficult one, I am excited that Aaron will continue to lead our program in the years ahead. My sincere appreciation to President Englert, the Board of Trustees and Dr. Kraft for their incredible support through the years. We have basketball to play next season, and I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead.”