Temple suspends Chaney

coach expresses contrition

He'll miss 3 games, return for Atlantic 10 tournament

College Basketball

February 26, 2005|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

The controversial and colorful career of John Chaney has turned an ugly hue, as Temple has suspended its veteran coach for the remainder of the regular season over his use of an enforcer in a heated game against an Atlantic 10 Conference rival.

Chaney initially gave himself a one-game suspension for his poor judgment in a loss to Saint Joseph's, but yesterday the Temple administration added two games to that punishment. Chaney can return for the conference tournament, March 9-12 in Cincinnati, but Saint Joe's senior John Bryant will not.

Bryant suffered a broken right arm in a seven-point win at Temple on Tuesday, when Chaney inserted Nehemiah Ingram, a 6-foot-8, 250-pound player whom he described as a "goon." Angered by what he complained were illegal screens by Saint Joseph's, Chaney sent in the seldom-used Ingram to send a message. Fouling out in just four minutes, Ingram knocked Bryant hard to the floor on one layup attempt, possibly bringing an end to his college career.

Bryant started last season, when Saint Joseph's reached a regional final. After a sluggish start to this season, the Hawks have gone 12-1 in the A-10 and had become the team to beat in the conference tournament.

"I feel very contrite about John Bryant," Chaney told the Associated Press. "I think my behavior is reprehensible and, as I've said 1,000 times, I take responsibility. If it's the judgment of the school to suspend me, I can take the responsibility of my actions."

Chaney said he called Bryant yesterday morning to apologize, and offered to pay his medical bills.

A-10 commissioner Linda Bruno said the conference would not add to the penalties imposed by Temple, which has grown accustomed to sometimes bizarre behavior from Chaney during his 23 seasons at the school in Philadelphia.

A 73-year-old native of Philadelphia, Chaney was forced by the racism of his time to play for Bethune-Cookman, a historically black college in Daytona Beach, Fla. He is admired for using pre-dawn practices to mold at-risk youngsters into championship teams. Counting 10 years at Division II Cheyney State, his 33-year college coaching record is 721-294. He took Cheyney State to an NCAA title in 1978, but his Temple teams are 0-5 in regional finals.

The substitution against Saint Joseph's is not the first time Chaney has used the threat of violence against an opponent.

In 1994, when Massachusetts was in the process of replacing Temple atop the A-10, Chaney threatened the life of then-Minutemen coach John Calipari in the public forum of a news conference.

That led to a suspension, the only one of his career before this week's. A Boston Globe article on Chaney that year had an account of a 1984 incident in which a halftime argument led him to briefly place his hands around the neck of George Washington coach Gerry Gimelstob.

Chaney was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001, and said he was unsure what effect the incident would have on his coaching future.

"I've had a reputation for many years, I've done many things wrong and made a lot of mistakes," Chaney said. "My name is a lightning rod. Right now, I'll just take inventory of myself."

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