December 20, 2013
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — In a surprise move, Temple University’s Board of Trustees voted in early December to eliminate seven intercollegiate sports, including the school’s history-rich baseball program, effective July 1, 2014.
Athletic Director Kevin Clark made the recommendation to the board and the move has caused some anger among both students and alumni of the baseball program.
“It was just unbelievable,” Matt Hockenberry, a senior pitcher and team captain, told www.phillynews.com
“In my entire tenure here, I would have never thought that a program like this, with the history it has had, would ever have something like this happen to it.”
School officials cited the need to boost funding for the remaining sports and become more competitive in the new athletic conference it joined this summer.
Many sports facilities need to be upgraded and Title IX considerations also were other reasons given for the move.
The cuts will save more than $3 million of the athletic department’s $44 million budget.
Temple’s baseball program began in 1907 and became a varsity sport in 1927.
The program has sent 15 players to major league baseball, including the late catcher John Marzano, infielder Jeff Manto, pitcher and once time Phillies pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, and outfielder Bobby Higginson, who hit 187 homers in 11 seasons with the Detroit Tigers.
The Owls are currently coach by Ryan Wheeler and were looking forward to building a brighter future. Temple moved to the American Athletic Conference and the baseball team is scheduled to play its season at Campbell’s Field in Camden, home of the Camden Riversharks.
The team finished 18-28 last season, but had some impressive wins, such as a 7-3 victory over Virginia Tech, and was hoping to improve further this season.
The cuts will affect 150 student-athletes (non-seniors) and 9 full time coaching positions. Players will be given an opportunity to transfer.