John Chaney recently celebrated his 78th birthday. On Friday afternoon, he’ll celebrate his induction into the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame.
Chaney won an incredible 516 games in 24 seasons coaching Temple hoops. His official 52 Big 5 victories is still the record.
“More than the wins and NCAA tournaments was the kids I worked with,” Chaney said. “You know, at Temple, we didn’t always get the blue-chips. I had to mold them from kids into men.”
While he never made that epic journey to the Final Four, Chaney did guide the Owls to the Elite Eight on five occasions. Each time he lost to a No. 1 seed.
But it was Chaney’s attitude that turned him into a Philly legend. The man who once threatened to kill John Calipari gave tiny, gritty Temple a reputation on the national stage.
“We weren’t North Carolina, Duke or UCLA, and we never pretended to be,” said Chaney. “We were Temple from North Philly, and we were darn proud of it. We would play anyone or any court at any time in any time zone. I thought it made us better. I never feared anyone.”
Chaney, already a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, will be enshrined with former ’Nova coach Rollie Massimino and La Salle’s Speedy Morris.
Said Chaney: “You know what? It was great from the time I started in 1982 to the time I left four years ago [in 2006].”