Monday, March 13, 2006

If you gonna dunk it, you better make sure it goes down

"If you gonna dunk it, you better make sure it goes down" - John Chaney to James Spears in McGonigle Hall 1992 after a missed dunk attempt.

John Chaney is retiring. He probably would have retired last year if not for the incident that clouded the season. Chaney was a maverick coach his whole career. He steadfastly refused to recruit blue chip players. He staunchly adhered to a system that stressed smothering defense during an era of basketball that basically eschewed defense totally. He also conducted practice at 5:30 AM to help mitigate the amount of class time his players missed. His gravelly voice boomed through McGonigle Hall and later the Liacouras Center on Broad Street in Philadelphia. He was very good for basketball. He was a good role model and a ground breaker in Division 1 basketball as one of the first African Americans to coach a major program. When I was a Temple University student is when the program enjoyed some of its greatest success. I absolutely hated him then. I thought his strict adherence to his system left no flexibility for the finest athlete Temple ever produced to rise to the next level. I always believed that if Chaney had given Eddie Jones the freedom he deserved with the basketball Temple would have made a Final Four. It never happened and I don’t think I ever really forgave Chaney. I hope he lives out his retirement in peace and comfort. Despite my youthful animosity, Chaney and Temple basketball provided the only good memories I have of my time there.

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