The college basketball world lost one of its all-time greats today as Hall of Fame Temple basketball head coach John Chaney passed away. He was 89 years old.
Chaney played college basketball at Bethune-Cookman from 1951 to 1955 and then enjoyed played minor league basketball from 1956 to 1963. After retiring, he went into coaching and quickly found his niche.
After a decade of coaching junior high school and high school, Chaney tried his hand at college basketball, signing on with Cheyney State in 1972. The results were immediate.
Chaney’s Wolves were consistently among the top schools in NCAA Division II basketball. They made the NCAA Tournament in seven straight seasons, winning the national title in 1978. He went 225-59 in ten years with the program.
John Chaney’s success at Cheyney State earned him the head coaching job at Temple, where he quickly turned the program into one of the elite mid-majors.
From 1982 to his retirement in 2006, the Owls went 516-253, making the NCAA Tournament 17 times. He won eight Atlantic 10 regular season titles, six Atlantic 10 Tournament Championships, and was a five-time Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year.
The Final Four of the NCAA Tournament eluded Chaney, but he did manage to take the Owls to the Elite Eight four times.
In 2004, Chaney became the first African-American head coach to reach 700 career wins.
Just got confirmation from someone close to John Chaney. The Temple legend of legends has passed away. RIP to a unique man and Hall of Fame coach.
— Mike Jensen (@jensenoffcampus) January 29, 2021
On top of his accomplishments on the basketball court, Chaney wasn’t afraid to mix it up with his contemporaries.
In 1994, he got into a now legendary confrontation with John Calipari at a press conference. Chaney accused the then-UMass head coach of manipulating the referees in a game. He then attempted to charge the stage and even threatened Coach Cal.
John Chaney was suspended for the incident, but he reached legend status for that.
He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001. Then into the College Basketball Hall of Fame following his retirement in 2006.
Our hearts go out to Coach Chaney’s family and loved ones.