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Legendary Temple coach John Chaney dies at 89

·5-min read
Legendary Temple coach John Chaney dies at 89
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Legendary Temple men’s basketball coach John Chaney died a week after his 89th birthday, the school confirmed on Friday.

Chaney was known as a teacher of life lessons with crack-of-dawn practices. He was a two-time USBWA National Coach of the Year (1987, 1988) and won the 1978 NCAA Division II national championship while coaching Cheyney State based out of Cheyney, Pennsylvania.

The school said he died Friday after a short illness.

Temple honors Chaney as leader by example

Temple president Richard M. Englert, who knew Chaney since the coach first started at Temple, said in a statement:

“John Chaney was a great coach, but he was so much more. For generations of Temple University students, he was a wise counselor, a dedicated teacher, an icon of success, and a passionate leader who always led by example and with conviction. I am also honored to say he was a dear friend.

“For generations of his players, there is only one man whom they all lovingly called Coach even to this day. That was John Chaney. Our most sincere condolences go out to his wonderful family members. We will keep them all in our prayers.”

He joined Temple in 1982, revitalizing the program and leading it to 17 NCAA tournaments and five NCAA regional finals. Before his arrival, the Owls had never made it to the NCAA tournament in back-to-back seasons. Under Chaney, they rattled off five straight from 1984-88 and then made it 12 straight from 1990 to 2001.

In the years he won Coach of the Year honors, the Owls had 30-win seasons. The 1987-88 team finished the year ranked No. 1 overall. Many of his student-athletes were the first in their families to graduate college thanks to efforts by Chaney.

Current Temple men’s basketball coach Aaron McKie starred for the Owls and Chaney from 1991-94.

“Coach Chaney was like a father to me,” he said in a statement. “He taught not just me, but all of his players more than just how to succeed in basketball. He taught us life lessons to make us better individuals off the court. I owe so much to him. He made me the man I am today.”

Chaney was enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001. He retired after a 24-year coaching career with Temple in 2006. He was 516-253 (.671) as Temple’s coach and 225-59 at Cheyney.

Tributes pour in for ‘one-of-a-kind’ coach

Fans, reporters and players took to Twitter to honor the coach. Dawn Staley coached the women’s team at Temple for seven seasons beginning in 2000 before heading to South Carolina.

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Mike Jensen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Dana O’Neil of The Athletic confirmed it.

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One particular video made the rounds after news of Chaney’s death. Chaney famously burst through the back of a postgame press conference on Feb. 19, 1994, and yelled “I’ll kill you!” at John Calipari, then the coach at the University of Massachusetts. He didn’t like how the fellow coach handled the officials.

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