Former university coach John Chaney, a member of the Hall of Fame, died at the age of 89, as reported this Friday by Temple University, a team he managed for 24 seasons.
The university in its statement noted that Chaney, a zone defense innovator who led Temple to 17 NCAA tournament appearances, passed away after a brief, unspecified illness.
Chaney began managing the Temple Owls in the 1982-83 season, the only season in which the team failed to make it to the NCAA or NIT tournament.
Then the Owls under Chaney’s leadership were Elite Eight five times in the NCAA Tournament, and Temple was ranked No. 1 for a stretch during the 1987-88 season, when the team went 32-2 to 18. -0 in the Atlantic 10 competition.
Before taking office at Temple, Chaney spent 10 seasons at Cheyney State, a Division II program about 28 miles from Philadelphia. He attended eight Division II tournaments and won the national championship in 1978.
“John Chaney was a great coach, but he was so much more. For generations of Temple University students, he was a wise advisor, a dedicated teacher, an icon of success, and a passionate leader who always led by example and with conviction, ”said the president of the academic center, Richard M. Englert, it’s a statement. “I am also honored to say that he was a dear friend.”
Chaney was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, having won 516 games at Temple and 741 games during his college career.
He is still in the top 40 winning college basketball coaches of all time and was the first black coach to reach 700 wins.
Chaney won consecutively (1987 and 1988) the Henry Iba Award, given to Coach of the Year by the Basketball Writers Association of the United States.
His great triumph was always the zone defense that worked with his teams, a strategy that confused rivals for decades and that annually had Temple among the leaders in defense with the fewest points allowed.
Chaney, who was born on January 21, 1932 in Jacksonville (Florida), was a passionate coach when he was on the bench which led him to star in a series of incidents with his rivals.
The former coach himself admitted that anything could happen on the pitch because he was an impulsive person and thought that “sometimes it is better to be crazy than to be intelligent.”
One of the most notable incidents of his career occurred when he verbally confronted John Calipari, who directed the University of Massachusetts, and after a match between both teams, which Temple lost 55-56, during the press conference Chaney threatened with “killing” him, which cost him the suspension of a game and having to apologize.
The two coaches subsequently established a great friendship and off the court, Chaney was a strong advocate of helping poor teens improve their lives through education.
“My only interest and wish is to be remembered as a person who always cared about helping those most in need and teaching them the way of improvement,” said Chaney when he spoke about his legacy.