Three years after retiring from the coaching ranks, former men’s basketball coach John Chaney will be inducted into the Temple Athletics Hall of Fame this weekend.
One of college basketball’s legendary coaches will take time out of his busy schedule of traveling and speaking to children to be inducted into the Hall of Fame Saturday at a ceremony in Mitten Hall at 4:30 p.m. Following the ceremony, he will be introduced at halftime of the Owls’ upcoming game against Charlotte at 6 p.m.
Chaney is one of only two Temple coaches to be elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and is Temple’s all-time winningest coach with 510 wins and 17 NCAA Tournament appearances in 24 years. Eight years after being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, his name will be added to the other 36 basketball figures to be welcomed into the Temple Hall of Fame.
“Being inducted to the National Basketball Hall of Fame was a great honor,” Chaney said, “but being inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame is another showing of the school’s commitment to me as a coach.”
In a time when coaching changes happen often, Chaney valued the loyalty of the university.
“This day and age, you don’t see many coaches with over 20 years of experience like I had,” he said.
“The loyalty coaches like I received and Mike Krzyzewski, Lute Olsen and Jim Boeheim receive just doesn’t exist anymore. I was fortunate that Peter Liacouras reached out and believed in me in trying to run a program with integrity and had the confidence to stay with me for 20 years in a time when many minority coaches were not looked at.”
Chaney is grateful for the time he spent with the Cherry and White and says he wishes he was still coaching as the postseason draws closer. But most importantly, he misses being around his student-athletes.
“They not only look at you as a role model, but they also look at you as someone who is a father to them,” he said. “Most of my athletes came from one-parent families and found a vehicle in basketball to get them an education and move ahead in life. That has always been the most important aspect of it for me.”
Being inducted into the Hall of Fame with Chaney is Dr. Ray Moyer, who has been the team physician for student-athletes at Temple since 1978 while also working with the Philadelphia 76ers from 1988 to 1990.
“I never would have accepted going into the Hall of Fame without my buddy,” Chaney said. “Much of what he has done for the university has gone unrecognized by anyone, and I think he’s done so much that he’s even forgotten what he has done for people.”
The icons will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on the 125th anniversary of the university, and Chaney joins Harry Litwack, James Usilton and Jim Maloney as the only men’s basketball coaches to receive the honor.
“It’s fitting and appropriate that these two men will be honored during our 125th celebration since they so significantly impacted the lives of thousands of Temple students, faculty, staff and alumni while representing our mission to the public,” Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw said.
“I didn’t even think about that,” Chaney added when asked about being inducted in the 125th year of Temple. “But for me to have spent almost a quarter of a century there is extraordinary, and it’s something that I feel very, very special about.”
Bradshaw will forever remember the day when Chaney announced his retirement and told a jam-packed press conference that he was “walking away from coaching and disappearing into the night.” But for at least one more evening, the coach will be at the center stage of the Temple Athletics program.
“My memories will be of his infamous 5 a.m. practices,” Bradshaw said, “where he taught young men not only basketball but about life, respect and using their opportunity to make an impact on others.”
Joe Serpico can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.