If you thought John Chaney displayed
an intimidating demeanor on the sidelines,
imagine talking to him one-on-one.
I’ll admit that it was daunting . . . but
only for about five seconds. That was the
time it took for the former coach to rise
from his chair and welcome me into his
Liacouras Center office with a warm handshake and an ear-to-ear smile.
My conversations with Chaney – I’d
rather not refer to them as interviews,
because we talked about more than basketball – were special. He wasn’t so much worried about his team as he was with my outlook on life. Among other topics, he’d ask about my academic career, my professional ambitions and my role with the student newspaper.
The individual opportunities I spent
chatting with Chaney were those which I
will never forget. The same goes for the
seasons I spent covering his – and now coach Fran Dunphy’s – teams.
With this being the final edition of
“The Temple News” for the current academic
year, it marks one last opportunity
for me to say how fortunate I really was
during my time at Temple before graduating
later this month.
Plus, it gives me a chance to shamelessly
pitch getting involved at your student
newspaper. (But we’ll get back to
I’ve been covering Temple sports for
nearly eight semesters, being a member
of “The Temple News” staff since my first
days on campus. In that time, I’ve experienced first-hand so many milestones.
I was in the second row of press
conferences bringing an end to Chaney’s
career at Temple and, three weeks later,
celebrating the start of Dunphy’s.
I was there when coach Al Golden announced
to the media that he would lead the next generation of Temple football.
As a beat writer, I’ve been afforded
the opportunity to travel to various places
to cover Temple sports.
I’ve boarded trains to Washington, D.C., and I have driven to Cincinnati and
Annapolis, Md. If it weren’t for “The Temple News”, I wouldn’t have been in Cincinnati to witness up close Chaney’s last career victory.
And in covering the majority of this institution’s athletics teams, I’ve gained a great (nay, greater) appreciation for the student-athlete. How they manage to juggle their schedules and meet their time commitments is beyond me.
Over the years I’ve developed lasting relationships, whether they were with members of Temple’s athletic department or my counterparts in the journalism industry.
I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. So here’s my plug: Get involved with the student newspaper – or at the very least another organization here at Temple where you can leave your mark. Classes and tests will always be there, but there are experiences to be had and memories to be forged, those which you can only enjoy as members of the student body.
Years from now, I won’t remember the individual games I covered. It won’t be the scores or stats that will stick with me, either.
Rather, I’ll remember Temple for the opportunities it provided me. In an interview in November 2005, women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley likened
Chaney to “that antique chair” you can never bring yourself to get rid of.
Ultimately, Chaney said goodbye to this university. We all have to say goodbye at some point in our lives. Now is my time to do just that. It’s without regret or remorse, but certainly with pride and pleasure.
And it’s been a fantastic journey I won’t ever forget.
Christopher A. Vito can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.