Chaney Wrong For His Actions And Resignation Is The Only Due Course

By Gregory Moore
Updated: February 25, 2005

John Chaney apologized for sending in a player as an enforcer during a recent game against cross-town rival St. Joeseph’s. combined with other outburts over the past several years, do you think it is time for Chaney to maybe step away from the game he loves so much?

SAN ANTONIO – The words are still resounding in my head after UMass had beat Temple that fateful night. John Calapari, head coach of UMass at that time, was giving a post game press conference when Temple University’s John Chaney walks in and says, “I’m going to kick your ass.” The words reverberate every time I see the clip because it shows exactly how impassioned Chaney is and was about the game of basketball. But maybe it also is the first clear sign of a man who is beyond the breaking point. Thus let me acquaint all of us who do not know of the set of circumstances that has happened a few days ago. According to reports, Chaney’s Owls team had played cross-town rival St. Joseph’s and had lost the game. Chaney complained about illegal screens and vowed to combat the same. As the rematch ensues, things escalate to the point where Chaney brings in a seldom-used player, Nehemiah Ingram, as an enforcer. At 6’8”and 250 pounds, Ingram isn’t a ball player but a starting defensive end for some D2 colleges. His job wasn’t to go in there and play ball; he was to put somebody out the game. Chaney had him in the game for a specific purpose. Chaney was mad and he resorted to unsportsmanlike coaching for which self imposed a one game suspension.

“These actions are not indicative of what I represent and I regret them immensely,” Chaney said after he met with Temple president David Adamany and athletic director Bill Bradshaw. “I regret the terrible stigma that I have put on the Temple University men’s basketball team and my student athletes by my actions during Tuesday’s game. My student-athletes are in no way responsible for my actions (Tuesday) night.

“Like my student-athletes, I must be accountable for my actions, and in that respect, I have imposed a one-game suspension.”

Well maybe the Owls’ alumnae might see this as just a coach battling for his team but one has to wonder whether the trials and tribulations of coaching in the ghetto has caught up to Chaney. How many times has he just ‘lost it’ during a game? How many technical fouls has he received and how many times has he been tossed by an official? How many times has the Atlantic 10 conference heads have to send letters of reprimand to the school on Chaney’s actions? Somehow there has to be some serious thought going on at the North Philly campus that has regents scratching their heads on this issue. Something must be done or else there could be a repeat performance.

Chaney’s latest actions are very indicative of a coach out of control. If this were Bobby Knight or Rick Pitino and this action happened, there would be people screaming for their immediate firing. So why hasn’t anyone said the same for Chaney? What are they scared to do so because he’s Black? That shouldn’t be the case. Chaney’s color has nothing to do with his actions. He has been a heck of a coach at Temple and is an excellent ‘father figure’ for the young men that go to his program. No one can dispute that his ability to take the least amount of talent and maximize it to NIT/NCAA appearances. There’s no doubt that his hard coaching style has cultivated several players into being marginally successful NBA players. Yet like with an incident when famed Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes lost it and when the antics of Knight at Indiana became too much, it is time for Chaney to look deep into his soul and say, “I am damaging this game I love with my boorish antics.” This is a serious matter in which needs some serious attention. Undoubtedly the Philly papers are all over this situation and many may actually be trying to let the program know that they are displeased with the actions that recently have taken place. No one doubts that there is a battle line drawn right now between St. Joe supporters and Temple supporters yet no one should be taking such sides to begin with. Both of these schools are located in depressed neighborhoods and both coaches utilize the local talent that is around them. If it were Phil Martelli who committed this egregious act I would be asking for the same type of punishment. If Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt had stooped to such coaching tactics I would be asking for his immediate removal. Heck if Mike Krysweski of Duke did the exact same thing, I would want the same punishment. In other words race isn’t an issue here for me and it shouldn’t be for anyone. What Chaney did was deplorable and a one game suspension just doesn’t cut it.

Do I want John Chaney to be forced out of a job? I’d hate to see that happen. Yet Chaney is in the same category as Penn State’s Joe Paterno; the game has slowly passed these old warhorses by. Chaney needs to realize that he has crossed the line one too many times now and that there is no excuse for him to not want to do something that is both honorable and commendable. I want to see Chaney end his career on a high note and maybe this season should be his last. I want to remember him coaching a team in the NIT/NCAA tournament for one last time. What I don’t want to remember him as is a bitter man who thinks everyone is out to get him or make his teams look bad by cheating. Right now that’s what I see and asking for his resignation is the only feasible alternative to a bad legacy for the Temple Owls.