Out of Control Temple's Chaney Injured Profession's Credibility

By Gene Wojciechowski 1994, Los Angeles Times | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), February 2, 1994 | Go to article overview

Out of Control Temple's Chaney Injured Profession's Credibility


Gene Wojciechowski 1994, Los Angeles Times, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The little rubber band holding Temple Coach John Chaney's senses together snapped this week, and it couldn't have come at a worse time.

In the few moments it took Chaney to embarrass himself and his profession Sunday, the combined efforts of the Black Coaches Association and the National Association of Basketball Coaches were compromised, perhaps permanently.

For months, even years, the coaches have demanded that they be treated as equals in the NCAA legislative process: They are educators, role models. Some have even fancied themselves as statesmen, learning parliamentary procedure and generally acting like William F. Buckley.

Then along comes Chaney, eyes bulging in anger, neck veins swollen like flooded tributaries, legs churning, and he's making a postgame beeline for Massachusetts Coach John Calipari, whose team had beaten Temple by a point.

"I'll kill you!" Chaney yelled as players and bystanders rushed to restrain him. "You remember that! When I see you, I'm going to kick your . . . . Kick your . . . ."

Chaney was upset that Calipari had confronted the game officials in a hallway after the victory. So he let him know it. In the process, he pretty much dispelled that statesman stuff.

"You got a good team and you don't need that edge!" Chaney shouted. "That's why I was telling my kids to knock your . . . kid in the mouth! Standing there, pushing in the game . . ."

This is the same impassioned Chaney who has admirers galore throughout the sport. The same Chaney who rides point on the BCA's quest for change. The same Chaney who can't understand why the NCAA establishment - the powerful university presidents and chancellors - chooses to ignore the assorted legislative pleas of coaches.

Here's why: Because you can't be the voice of reason off the court, and the voice of insanity on it.

If the BCA and the NABC were looking for credibility with the policy makers, this wasn't the way to do it. In these delicate and critical times of threatened boycotts, mediation and negotiation, you don't want Chaney on the nightly news making a fool of himself.

But there he was, causing coaches everywhere to wince in discomfort.

"I'm embarrassed it happened," said Calipari, who stressed that this was Chaney's doing, not his. "I'm totally embarrassed that it happened."

And this from Florida State's Pat Kennedy: "I think the solution is that all coaches should be man enough and straight up, man to man, to confront each other privately. I think there's nothing worse than when two coaches have to confront each other publicly like that."

Georgia Tech's Bobby Cremins, a friend and fan of Chaney, did what he could to defend the Temple coach. But how exactly do you defend someone who vowed to kill someone and who ordered his players to hurt an opponent?

"In the heat of the moment, with the emotions so high, we all let out steam the wrong way sometimes, including myself," Cremins said.

In Chaney's case, the vapors escaped out his ears.

An apology came Monday, followed later by an announcement that Temple President Peter Liacouras had suspended Chaney for one game . . . against St. Bonaventure, the seventh-place team in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The punishment barely left pink marks on Chaney's wrists.

This isn't the only instance this season of a coach having an out-of-body experience.

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