PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Family, friends, fans and former Temple basketball players paid their final respects to legendary head coach John Chaney on Monday. The university hosted a memorial service at The Liacouras Center after a public, socially-distanced viewing.
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It doesn’t matter if you were a player or another coach in the opposite box as everyone learned something from the Hall of Famer.
Chaney passed away last week at the age of 89, and throughout his private viewing inside Liacouras Center, people shared stories about their interactions with a man they say helped change thousands of lives.
That includes some of the coaches he went up against, including the man who succeeded Chaney at Temple University — Fran Dunphy.
He told the story of how he could not accept the head coaching position at Temple without Chaney’s blessing.
“He was always my mentor and then he became my very good friend. Over the last few years, just about every one of our conversations — and maybe they took place every three, four weeks — they always ended with ‘I love you, Franny.’ Nobody calls me Franny, but he did and I accepted it, that it was Coach Chaney. It meant a lot to me,” Dunphy said.
“And that’s, to me, what good fathers do, they teach you. They don’t tell you what you want to hear. They teach you right from wrong and how to cope with things, how to not just cope with that situation, but situations that’s gonna occur later in your life. Why? Because they’ve been there, they’ve done that,” former Temple basketball player Marc Jackson said.
Chaney’s son-in-law told an amazing story when he went to ask him for his blessing to marry his daughter. He said it was right after the infamous John Calipari incident in the 1990s. He said climbing those steps to Chaney’s bedroom was the scariest moment of his entire life.
Chaney was known to hold early morning basketball practices, and to honor him, several local high school basketball teams will be up early, working out Monday morning.
Chaney spent 24 seasons patrolling Temple’s sidelines, compiling a 516-253 record during his Hall of Fame career. He was an institution in Philadelphia for decades.READ MORE: Philadelphia Union to Have Full Stadium At Subaru Park For First Time Since October 2019
On the court is how many will remember Chaney, but it’s what he did off the court that really set him apart.
“He’s a legendary figure, a true icon and his legacy is phenomenal. When he went out to recruit, there were a lot of moms, grandmoms, dads who said, ‘you know what, I’m going to hand my son off to somebody who will be a great surrogate father for these young fellas,’” Dunphy said.
Dunphy, who succeeded Chaney in 2006, says he did just that, making sure his student-athletes not only reached success on the court but in the classroom as well.
“He was very much into that and that was his way of saying, you know, I’m going to have you here and we’re going to do great, great things, but it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be a lot of work and you’re going to come out of here a better man than when you first came here, and he accomplished that. Almost to a person,” Dunphy said.
Chaney took the Owls to the NCAA tournament 17 times, including going into the 1988 tournament as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. Chaney’s teams reached the Elite Eight five teams.
He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001. The court at The Liacouras Center is named after the Hall of Famer.
Chaney retired following the 2005-06 season.
Prior to his time at Temple, Chaney coached Cheney University for 10 years, capturing the NCAA Division II title in 1978. He finished with a 225-59 record for Cheney.
Chaney began his coaching career at Philadelphia’s Sayre Junior High before going to Simon Gratz High.
CBS3’s Dan Koob contributed to this report.MORE NEWS: WATCH LIVE: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, State Officials To Provide COVID-19 Update
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)