John Chaney has only read two books since graduating from Bethune-Cookman College in 1955: “Savage Inequalities” by Jonathan Kozol and “The Shape of the River” by Derek Curtis Bok.
One is about inequities in the school systems; the other affirmative action.
He loves both of them to death.
“I have them for sale for about $1,000 a piece,” Chaney joked.
But now the Hall of Fame coach will need to devote time to another book – “Chaney: Playing for a Legend,” by Philadelphia Tribune sports editor Donald Hunt, along with NBA stars and former Temple standouts Aaron McKie and Eddie Jones.
Chaney and Hunt were at the Barnes & Noble College Store yesterday at the corner of Cecil B. Moore Avenue and Broad Street, where Chaney sat for about two hours autographing books for students, faculty, parents and fans.
The book chronicles the careers of both Jones and McKie at Temple, and what it was like playing under one of the most respected coaches in college basketball. In 177 pages, Hunt chronicles McKie and Jones’ hardships as young adolescents and ineligibility as incoming freshman as well as their rise in the NBA. Jones currently plays for the Miami Heat and McKie for the 76ers.
Hunt, who has covered Temple basketball for more than a decade, came up with the idea for the book four years ago and took a different approach. Instead of having Chaney as the main attribution, Hunt let
McKie and Jones talk about their times with Chaney on and off the court.
The book also contains three forewords by Bill Cosby, Herm Rogul, a longtime Philadelphia sportswriter, and Chaney himself, who speaks about the different types of people he’s mentored under his program. The end of the book contains Chaney’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech in its entirety as well as the introduction speech by Hall of Fame coach John Thompson.
But putting the book together wasn’t that easy. While handling his duties as sports editor, he was relegated to speaking with Jones via telephone, since he was still playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
“At first putting it together was kind of hard,” Hunt said. “I tried to have some kind of schedule, because if not I’d burn myself out.”
Fortunately, his wife Pat was there to oversee the entire project. Donald reported and wrote, filling seven spiral notebooks -Pat typed about three manuscripts. But she’s no sports fan and has never been to a Temple basketball game. Pat thinks her husband gets too emotional when it comes to basketball.
“He’s a dedicated person,” she said. “He always made time for the family and was there when I needed him.”
With the book finally on the shelves, Hunt hopes readers will understand the lives Chaney, McKie and Jones lived before crossing paths and how much affection they have for one another.
“These guys really came up through some really difficult situations,” Hunt said. “But they never let obstacles step in their way. They kept battling and working hard to becoming successful.”
Chris Silva can be reached at email@example.com.