Aaron McKie Returns to Philly as Temple Basketball Coach
Aaron McKie doesn’t just call Philadelphia home, he is Philadelphia, according to Temple’s athletic director Patrick Kraft. “He is North Philadelphia. He’s Philadelphia. I mean, he is the true Temple story.”
Born and raised outside Temple’s campus in North Philadelphia, Aaron Mckie always dreamt of becoming something bigger, a sports hero to his city. His early life wasn’t easy, but he used the particular hard times of his life to mold his character and shape him into the man he is today.
By high school McKie was on the path to becoming the sports hero he dreamed of as a child. At Simon Gratz high school, he was in good academic standing and dived headfirst into basketball. By his senior year, he was offered a scholarship by then coach John Chaney. Though he couldn’t play his freshman season due to his low GPA (and the rules of the NCAA’s Proposition 48), he still dedicated himself to the sport. By the time he was finished college, McKie was the sixth all time leading scorer at Temple, averaging 17.9 points per game while starting all 92 games.
As a professional player, McKie was selected in the first round and 17th overall of the 1994 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. He went on to also play for the Detroit Pistons, and most notably for beloved 76ers from 1997-2005. He retired with the LA Lakers and served as an assistant coach for the Sixers from 2008-2013 and is now back at his alma matter as head coach of the Men’s Basketball Team at Temple.
November 5th was McKie’s debut as head coach, as the Temple Owls Basketball team had their home opener against Drexel. In typical Owls fashion along with the great strategy of Coach McKie, the Owls won 70-62. Though the Owls secured the win at home, Coach McKie saw some areas to improve, speaking to Alex McGinley of the Temple News, “I’ll take the win. We gotta do better at decision-making. We wanna be the team that’s turning the opponent, not us turning. A lot of our turnovers were careless. It wasn’t like that team was pressuring us. We were just careless with the ball.”
It’s refreshing to have a coach that doesn’t take a win and is merely satisfied. Instead, Coach McKie appreciates the win but he also knows his team, as well as himself can do better, embodying that Philly grit that makes him so great.