Community residents, basketball coaches and Temple University student-athletes walked through the Liacouras Center Monday morning to pay their respects to the legendary Temple men’s basketball coach John Chaney, who died in January.
Chaney died at the age of 89 on Jan. 29 due to a “short illness.” He retired in 2006 as the Owls’ all-time leader in wins since taking over as head coach in 1982.
A socially-distanced public viewing was held between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m while a live streamed service was held at 3 p.m, The Temple News reported.
The speakers at the later ceremony included acting athletic director and former men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy, President Richard Englert, current head men’s basketball coach Aaron McKie and former Temple men’s basketball player Marc Jackson.
In the lobby of the Liacouras Center, Chaney’s statue stood with a bouquet of red roses beside it. A booklet was handed out on the stairs leading down to the court which included some of Chaney’s greatest achievements and quotes.
“That’s Life” and other Frank Sinatra songs played throughout the stadium as a slideshow of Chaney with his loved ones aired on large monitors for those in attendance to watch.
Members of Temple’s men’s basketball team walked out in their warm-up suits to pay their respects to the hall of famer.
Dunphy and senior associate athletic director Larry Dougherty stood on the court welcoming those who wished to pay their respects.
“He was an activist and civil rights leader, he made a difference as a teacher, as a coach and his greatest impact came from his genuine humanity and his concern of empathy,” Dunphy said during the service livestream. “I don’t know if I meant a man more empathetic in my life.”
During the service, Englert said he always thought of Chaney as a remarkable teacher.
“He taught self-discipline, fairness and caring for the most vulnerable people in our society,” Englert said.
McKie will never forget the impact Chaney had on his morals and values and how he fought for educating the youth, he said.
“Chaney helped me get a seat at the table, and now I get the distinguished honor to be a coach and lead young men,” McKie said during his speech. “I had some tough times in my life, but when you have strong men in your corner, they empower you to have the strength of a warrior.”
While at Temple, Jackson was supported by Chaney and considered him a father figure, Jackson said.
“Being raised by a single mother or raising yourself, you didn’t know how to cope with things or deal with certain emotions,” Jackson said. “Chaney sat me down and had some inspiring words a father teaches their child and teaches them how to cope with certain things.”
More than six members of the Temple community spoke at the service on the impact of Chaney on their own personal lives.
“Chaney had 741 career wins and today he has 742, there is a crown that has been laid up in store for all of those who love God, demand greatness, and understand relationships. Long live Chaney,” said Pastor Marshall Mitchell, from Salem Baptist church in Abington, Pennsylvania, to finish out the service.