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2/22/2005 - John Chaney sends in the goon


(Chaney draws up the gameplan for Ingram. Photo courtesy of dragonballyee)

John Chaney had an outstanding career coaching the Temple Owls. In his 33 years as a college basketball coach, Chaney racked up 741 wins and earned a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He preached discipline and ethics, and cleanly recruited his athletes. He demanded 6 A.M. workouts so his players wouldn't miss classes. He built Temple's athletic program and was a pioneer in African American coaching.

Chaney's bane was that he was at times too emotional, and it often led to embarrassing outbursts. In 1984, he scuffled with George Washington coach Gerry Gimelstob and had be removed after clenching his hands around his neck. A decade later, he threatened to kill John Calipari at a post-game press conference. And in 2005, he was the catalyst to a final incident that eventually led to his ousting at Temple University, one that desecrated his prior teachings of morals and integrity.

The Owls were playing at home against St. Joseph's University. Chaney was steamed that the officials weren't calling "illegal screens" on any of St. Joe's players. In retaliation, Chaney sent 6'8'', 250-pound Nehemiah Ingram into the game to foul. Ingram was not a regular performer; the most he had played in a game was 10 minutes and he hadn't played in the last five games.

It only took four minutes for Ingram to foul out of the game. On his last foul, Ingram hammered John Bryant in mid-air as he attempted a layup, which sent the St. Joseph's alumni sprawling on the floor. Bryant was not able to attempt his free throws; he left the court clutching his right arm in pain and did not return.


(John Bryant laid on the floor in pain. Screencap courtesy of NBC)

Afterward, Chaney was left to defend his actions. At first, the 73 year-old coach came off as unapologetic. "I'm a mean, ornery, son of a bitch," he said. "And when I see something wrong, I try to right it. I'm going to do the same thing they do to me. I'm going to send in what we did years ago - send in a goon. I'm from the old school, I try to play it right, but no more, no more."

A few days later, Chaney switched tune by apologizing for his actions and issuing himself a one-game suspension. However, the x-rays showed that Bryant had broken his arm, and would miss the rest of his senior season.

With that revelation, Temple -- who had come under fire for not reprimanding Chaney themselves -- suspended him for the remaining three games of the season. "Last week, my words and actions were wrong, wrong, wrong," said Chaney, who did not fight the suspension. "If it's the judgment of the school to suspend me, I can accept the responsibility of my actions."

When the Atlantic-10 tournament began, Chaney again suspended himself from coaching. "I never intended -- nor did any of my players intend -- for anyone to be injured, regardless of what may have been said emotionally before, during and after the game." "John Bryant is unable to play in the tournament because of the injury he sustained last week against Temple. Neither should I be able to coach."

In the offseason, calls were made for Chaney to either resign or be fired. Even his supporters and admirers agreed that it was best for him to go; they didn't want to see him damage his legacy like Woody Hayes or Bobby Knight, but by that point, it was already too late.

Chaney stuck around for one more season before calling it quits, a decision which was made so he could tend to his ailing wife.