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PHILADELPHIA – Hall of Fame basketball coach John Chaney, who led Temple University to five appearances in the NCAA’s Elite Eight, has died, the university announced Friday. He was 89.

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Chaney, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001, coached at the Philadelphia university for 24 seasons. He led the Owls to the NCAA tournament 17 times and compiled a 516-253 record.

Chaney also won a Division II national title at Cheyney University, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

“John Chaney was a great coach, but he was so much more. For generations of students, he was a wise counselor, a dedicated teacher, an icon of success, and a passionate leader who always led by example and with conviction,” Temple University President Richard M. Englert said in a statement. “I am also honored to say he was a dear friend.

“For generations of his players, there is only one man whom they all lovingly called Coach even to this day. That was John Chaney. Our most sincere condolences go out to his wonderful family members. We will keep them all in our prayers.”

Chaney was 50 when Temple hired him in 1982 after he spent 10 seasons coaching at Cheyney State College (now Cheyney University), The New York Times reported. Chaney won 741 games overall; he went 225-59 at Cheyney State, appeared in eight national championship tournaments and won the NCAA Division II title in 1978.

Chaney was known for his intensity and a unique matchup zone defense, the Inquirer reported.

“A man who lived his life the way he wanted, and will be remembered for his service,” Simon Gratz High coach Lynard Stewart, who played for Chaney at Temple, told the newspaper.

Chaney won the Henry Iba Award, given to the Coach of the Year by the United States Basketball Writers Association, in 1987 and 1988, ESPN reported.

“Many of my players came from environments where people said they couldn’t do it,” Chaney told The Athletic in 2019. “I came from an era where it could end before being fulfilled. You have to move into a better place, in our minds and for our future. So many of them were able to change who they were. They ended up being what Temple’s statement has always been. Young acres of diamonds, right from the neighborhood, being told they could have the same kind of opportunity as everyone else.”

Born Jan. 21, 1032, Chaney graduated in 1955 from Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida. He played in the Eastern Basketball League and was named an all-pro six times, Temple University said in its release. He also was named the league’s MVP in 1959 and 1960.

“Coach Chaney was like a father to me,” current Temple men’s basketball coach Aaron McKie said in a statement. “He taught not just me, but all of his players more than just how to succeed in basketball. He taught us life lessons to make us better individuals off the court. I owe so much to him. He made me the man I am today.”

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