John Chaney’s Message Was Always Clear, in Support of Black Athletes

The metaphors and the tales would discover a specific resonance in the houses of recruits who have been raised by their grandparents, those that may nod knowingly a few faculty diploma — extra so than basketball — being a route out of poverty.

While visiting a recruit, Chaney would ask for a present of arms for anyone in the household who had attended faculty. Invariably, the one one can be the prospect. Chaney readily took gamers who needed to sit out a yr as a result of they didn’t qualify academically underneath the rule he protested. Some have been like Eddie Jones, who had a prolonged N.B.A. profession, and others have been like Ernie Pollard, who grew to become a cop and runs a Police Athletic League basketball program in North Philadelphia. Another, Aaron McKie, is now Temple’s coach.

“If grandparents were in the home and they were strong with the recruit, you felt like it was over before it began,” Leibovitz mentioned. “He’d be in the kitchen talking about the South or gumbo recipes. He promised that they’d be pushed and have a chance to graduate. He’d say, ‘I’m not going to stick a lollipop in your mouth, I’m going to coach you like a man.’”

Those old-school sensibilities, although, generally veered over the road.

Chaney made nationwide information when he stormed right into a information convention after Temple had narrowly misplaced to Massachusetts and charged on the opposing coach, John Calipari, shouting “I’ll kill you,” earlier than he was restrained. Years later, he was suspended for sending a participant into the sport to tough up rival St. Joseph’s — resulting in a St. Joseph’s participant breaking an arm in a tough fall, which enraged Hawks Coach Phil Martelli.

A Philadelphia sportswriter brokered a gathering between the 2 coaches.

“It was almost like a mob movie — they emptied the restaurant and put the two of us behind a screened off portion,” mentioned Martelli, now an assistant at Michigan. “We talked it out.”

Chaney, who had mentioned publicly he was upset about laborious screens by St. Joseph’s, instructed Martelli the true motive: A witness in a deposition about irregularities in Temple’s program mentioned he had spoken to Martelli. What Chaney didn’t know was that in the deposition, the witness had additionally mentioned that Martelli didn’t know something.

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