PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Bobby Wallace is leaving Temple in the same shape he found it: As one of the worst football teams in the country.

After eight losing seasons of never winning more than four games, Wallace said Monday he will leave at the end of the year when his coaching contract expires.

“What we’ve been through, the transition we’ve been through, has taken a toll on me and my family,” Wallace said. “It hasn’t been easy.”

The Owls have been outscored 297-63 and have lost five of their games by at least 25 points.

Wallace coached the Owls through one of their worst era’s in an already historically woeful program. Since Wallace took over in 1998, Temple was booted out of the Big East, switched home stadiums and is playing its first year as an independent before joining the Mid-American Conference as a full member in 2007.

The one constant has been the losing. The Owls are winless in six games this year. Their last winning season was 1990 and they haven’t played a bowl game since 1979.

“Losing will wear on you and we’ve lost a lot of games,” Wallace said.

Even with three two-win seasons and a one-win season on his Temple resume, this year has truly been Wallace’s toughest. The Owls have allowed more than 60 points three times already and lost by three points against Western Michigan, their best chance for a win this year.

The 11 opponents on Temple’ schedule finished a combined 83-48 (.634) last year and eight of its opponents played in bowl games.

It doesn’t get any easier Saturday when the Owls play No. 7 Miami.

Wallace said he met with Temple Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw last week to talk about his future. Wallace said he made the decision now to give Temple a jump on finding a new coach.

Temple’s uncertain status after being voted out of the Big East in 2001 didn’t help Wallace in recruiting. The Owls were kicked out because they didn’t meet minimum requirements for membership, most notably in attendance, facilities and fielding a competitive team.

“That was a strain on all of us,” Wallace said.

The Owls have no true conference affiliation for another two years. They are affiliate members of the Mid-American Conference this year and next, slowly adding conference teams to the schedule until they are full football members in 2007.

Wallace led North Alabama to three Division II national championships in 10 seasons at the school in his only other head coaching job from 1988-97. But he never was able to match that success at Temple. The Owls never won more than four games in a season under him, and were 3-26 over the last 21/2 years.

“I didn’t know what I was getting into,” Wallace said.

AP-ES-10-10-05 1717EDT

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