Wayne Hardin always was a Hall of Fame-level football coach.
Now, it is official.
Hardin, who coach Temple to a 14-game winning streak, to a bowl appearance and to 80 wins in 12 years, was elected Tuesday to the College Football Hall of Fame.
Hardin will be officially inducted Dec. 10, in New York.
“He was such an innovator,” said Steve Joachim, the All-Delco quarterback from Haverford High, who won the Maxwell under Hardin in 1974. “He was different than any coach I had ever seen. He really coached to his talent. He really didn't have just a system, where you had to fit in. He took the players he had and built the system around them.”
Hardin twice led Navy a Top 5 rating in the national polls and coached Heisman Trophy winners Roger Staubach and Joe Bellino. But as impressive as his 38-22-2 record was in six years at Annapolis, Hardin accepted and succeeded in a challenge to bring Temple into some measure of national prominence.
There, he went 80-50-3, including a 28-17 victory over California in the 1979 Garden State Bowl in the Meadowlands. The Owls were ranked No. 17 that season.
“Well, I truly look at it this way,” said Hardin, from his winter home in Port St. Lucie, Florida. “When you hear the guys that win the Heisman Trophy say it couldn't happen without their teammates, well this is something that everybody can share. Because getting this award, it wasn't just me doing it. It was the coaches and the athletic director and the doctors and the trainers and the players. They are in this just as well as I am."
Check out the complete coverage of a momentous day for Temple football, along with my column on Joachim's happy reaction, in the Daily Times Wednesday and, as always, on delcotimes.com