PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The changing of the guard at the top of the Temple University baseball program is complete.  Six weeks after Rob Valli resigned as head coach, the Owls have hired former Richmond assistant Ryan Wheeler to take his place.

Wheeler has 15 years of Division I coaching experience, and he is excited to get things started on North Broad Street.

“I’ve been waiting for a long time to be a head coach,” he tells KYW Newsradio.  “I grew up in the area, I went to Souderton High School.   I looked at Temple and I knew the tradition that they had there, and I know it’s a great academic university.  And so, when the opportunity arose, I said, ‘I think there is an opportunity to come here and do some great things.  You can win and be successful in the classroom and on the field.’   So that’s why it was the right fit right now.”

Temple went 24-29 last season and they were just 4-20 in the Atlantic 10.
Listen to Matt Leon’s entire interview with Ryan Wheeler in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

Wheeler talks about assessing the talent hand he’s been dealt with the Owls:

“Coming from Richmond, I was in the league and we played Temple.  Due to the schedule last year we didn’t play a three-game series with them, so it’s been a couple years since I’ve seen the team.  I do know some of the players because I have come back to this area and recruited some of them.   I think it’s going to be an ongoing process (evaluating the talent).   I’ve been trying to study the roster and just get a feel for it.   I do think we may need a few players for the fall, or next season, especially in the catching area.  But I’m really going to be able to dive into that once I get the team on campus and we start to get to work and I just see where he have some holes and what we need to fill.”

What is his vision for the Temple baseball program?

“First and foremost, I want to bring in quality student-athletes.  Guys that are the right fit for Temple University — and that means both academically and athletically.  But on the field, I want us to compete hard every single day.  Ability is one thing, but being able to go out there and compete, play hard, day in and day out, no matter what the score is — that’s what I want Temple baseball to be about.”

Wheeler played his college ball at Penn State and was actually a 1994 draft pick of the (then) California Angels (31st round).

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060

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