John Chaney, longtime Temple basketball coach who is a member of the two Basketball Hall of Fames, died on Friday, the university announced. He was 89 years old. Temple said Chaney died after a short, unspecified illness.
Chaney was Temple's coach from 1982-2006. During his run with the Owls, Chaney led the team to 17 NCAA tournament appearances. The only season Temple didn't reach the NCAA tournament or NIT was his first season. He went to the Elite Eight five times and had Temple ranked No. 1 during the 1987-88 season. In that season, the Owls finished the year with a 32-2 record and went undefeated (18-0) in Atlantic 10 play.
Our hearts are broken. Rest in Peace, Coach. pic.twitter.com/RwtbbvG40H— Temple Owls (@TempleOwls) January 29, 2021
"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," Temple President Richard M. Englert said in a statement, as reported by ESPN. "I am also honored to say he was a dear friend.
Before coaching at Temple, Chaney spent time at Cheyney State, a Division II school in Pennsylvania. He led the team to a national title in 1978 and appeared in eight Division II tournaments. Chaney was also named Division II National Coach of the Year in 1978. During his time at Temple, Chaney was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year five times and AP Coach of the Year in 1988.
"Many of my players came from environments where people said they couldn't do it," Chaney told The Athletic in 2019. "I came from an era where it could end before being fulfilled. You have to move into a better place, in our minds and for our future. So many of them were able to change who they were. They ended up being what Temple's statement has always been. Young acres of diamonds, right from the neighborhood, being told they could have the same kind of opportunity as everyone else."
Chaney was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. He finished his career with a 741-312 record and became the first Black coach to win over 700 games.