Philadelphia basketball legend John Chaney dies at 89

Sean Kane
·2 min read

Philadelphia basketball legend John Chaney dies at 89 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Philadelphia basketball community lost a legend on Friday. Hall of Fame coach John Chaney passed away at the age of 89.

On the court, Chaney is best remembered for leading the Temple men's basketball program for 24 seasons, from 1982 to 2006. He won 516 games at Temple, leading the Owls to 17 NCAA Tournaments and five Elite Eight appearances. 

Chaney won eight regular-season Atlantic 10 championships and six conference tournament titles. He was a five-time A-10 Coach of the Year. His legendary matchup zone was one of the most innovative defenses in college basketball history. 

Prior to coaching at Temple, Chaney spent 10 seasons at Cheyney University, where he won the Division II national championship in 1978. Chaney won nearly 80 percent of his games at Cheyney and compiled 741 wins over the course of his legendary coaching career.

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He was a great player before he went into coaching, winning Philadelphia Public League Player of the Year honors in 1951. He played college basketball at Bethune-Cookman College in Florida. 

Chaney was inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.

But Chaney's career was about far more than on-court accomplishments. He shaped countless lives, mentoring future NBA players like Mark Macon, Tim Perry, Aaron McKie, Eddie Jones, Rick Brunson and Marc Jackson. 

Chaney always fought for underprivileged kids, battling the NCAA over Proposition 48, which required student-athletes to have a minimum 2.0 high school grade point average and 700 SAT score to play college sports. Chaney saw the rule as an unfair punishment, denying youngsters academic and athletic opportunities.

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His career contained its share of controversy, namely his postgame run-in with then UMass head coach John Calipari in 1994 as well as ordering Nehemiah Ingram to give hard fouls in a game against Saint Joseph's in 2005, one of which broke John Bryant's arm.  

But with Chaney, the good far outweighed the bad. He prided himself on turning boys into men and giving everyone an equal opportunity to succeed in both basketball and life. 

The Philadelphia sports landscape won't be the same without John Chaney.  

He was a legendary coach and a terrific molder of young men. His legacy will endure forever.