June 29, 2012
Temple served as the Kansas baseball skipper for 28 seasons, leading KU to a program record 438 wins and a mark of .500 or better in conference play in 14 of those years. He led the Jayhawks to their first conference tournament, qualifying for the Big Eight Championship in 1976 and coached future major leaguers in Bob Allison, Chuck Dobson and Steve Renko. Following his career as a coach, Temple served as an Assistant Athletic Director at KU from 1981-92 and was also an assistant football coach during his tenure.
“I’m deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Floyd Temple,” current Kansas head coach Ritch Price said. “My thoughts and prayers are with his family. I truly valued his friendship and it was always a joy for me to see him at our alumni days and any time he came out to the ballpark.”
The winningest head coach in KU baseball history, Temple began his career with the Jayhawks as a football player in 1948. He lettered two years each in baseball and football and was the third baseman for the 1949 baseball team that claimed the Big Seven Conference title, KU’s last baseball title prior to the 2006 Big 12 Championship.
Temple went on to play minor league baseball in 1950 for the Gladewater Bears of the East Texas League. In 1951-52, Temple played for the Iola Indians of the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League and managed the team for parts of those seasons. In total, Temple played in 110 minor league games and posted a .278 batting average during that time.
Following his days on the minor league circuit, Temple returned to Lawrence to lead the Kansas baseball team beginning with the 1954 season. He promptly took a club that had gone 6-10 the previous year and led it to a 10-5 campaign that included four victories against Arkansas and a 4-4 record in the Big Seven Conference. Under the direction of Temple, KU baseball posted a mark of .500 or better in conference play 14 out of 28 seasons after the program had accomplished the feat only seven times in the 32 years prior.
Temple achieved the majority of his accomplishments in spite of the fact that he only had four baseball scholarships to award until 1975, while other schools in the conference had as many as 24. Temple also served as an assistant coach for the football team during 20 of the 28 years (1958-77) he was the baseball coach.
He guided the Jayhawks to the program’s first 30-win season in 1978 and followed it with 30-win seasons in 1979 and 1981. After the 1981 season in which the Jayhawks posted a 32-19 record and finished third in the Big Eight Conference, Temple retired as the head baseball coach to become assistant athletics director, a role which he held from 1981-92. In his last six seasons as coach, when his number of scholarships was increased to 13, KU went a combined 171-101-3 for a winning percentage of .629. Temple coached four All-Americans and seven future Major League players while at Kansas, including 1959 American League Rookie of the Year and three-time MLB All-Star Bob Allison.
Temple’s iconic 13 was retired in 1982 and remains the only jersey number displayed on the outfield wall of KU’s home stadium, Hoglund Ballpark.
Services for Floyd Temple are pending.