Making it into the Hall of Fame is the ultimate honor you can earn for achievements in your given sport. The Basketball Hall of Fame has opened its doors to two coaches, and it couldn't happen to two better men -- Temple's John Chaney and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski are two deserving honorees. I can't wait for Oct. 5, when they will be part of an emotional induction ceremony. I know the tears will be flowing.
CHANEY IS CONSUMMATE COACH
Chaney finally gets the credit he deserves. It is not only about the number for the Owls coach. I've always felt that coaching is the ability to get the maximum out of your personnel. John Chaney epitomizes the word "coaching."
Chaney is a teacher who operates a program that doesn't have the luxury of many bigger schools, yet his teams are competitive year in and year out. He takes advantage of his team's strengths and understands its weaknesses. He then incorporates his talent into a system that can provide success.
|John Chaney has cajoled and exhorted his Temple players to five Elite Eights.|
Think about his credentials. He has served 29 years at Cheyney State and Temple, winning 656 games along the way. He won a national championship (Division II) at Cheyney State in 1978. Remember, he started his coaching career later than most.
He has led Temple to 18 postseason appearances in 19 years, including 12 straight NCAA berths. Chaney has made it to the Elite Eight five times.
Some people will talk about the fact he hasn't made the Final Four. Let me tell you, he lost to powerhouses as an underdog in those Elite Eight showdowns.
His Owls have won 20 or more games 15 times, and he is the winningest coach in Atlantic 10 history with 284 conference victories.
Chaney is more than just an X and O guy. He is a teacher in the game of life. He has such a passion and love for what is he is doing, pouring out his emotions, demonstrating it to his athletes.
Another sign of his success is his players. He has sent several to the NBA, including Eddie Jones, Aaron McKie and Mark Macon. Those who have the opportunity to play for him have treasured the experience. Chaney is a big-time winner in every way, playing a vital role for so many players wearing the Temple uniform.
NO DOUBT FOR COACH K
It's great to see Mike Krzyzewski make it to the Hall of Fame. The timing is great considering that Duke named the court at Cameron Indoor Stadium after him, and the Blue Devils earned national championship No. 3 under his leadership this past season.
Was there any doubt he would make it?
|Mike Krzyzewski and Duke have a tough road to another title.|
It's great to see the Hall of Fame honor men in their prime. I love to see the recognition given at a time when these coaches can appreciate it. Too often honors are bestowed too late for people to share it and feel that special emotion.
I have said for several years that Coach K has built the model program in college basketball. His accomplishments on the court speak for themselves:
Three national championships (1991, 1992, 2001); his three championships tie him for third all-time with Bob Knight, behind John Wooden (11) and Adolph Rupp (four), all of whom are members of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Nine Final Four appearances, including a streak of five in a row.
A 533-164 record in 21 years at Duke.
56 NCAA tournament wins, the most among active coaches; only Dean Smith has more on the all-time list.
10 Final Four victories, which ranks second behind Wooden's 21.
Six ACC tournament championships and nine ACC regular-season championships.
I think back to the early stages of his career at Duke, and the courage shown by athletic director Tom Butters. Duke was 11-17 and 10-17 in his second and third seasons on the sidelines.
Butters, one of the most valuable athletic directors, had vision. He listened to Robert Montgomery Knight when The General said he had a guy who fit the puzzle perfectly for Duke. Butters hired Coach K and stayed with him, even in tough times. Krzyzewski was the right man to replace Bill Foster, but there were rumblings and letters asking for a change after his third year. Butters knew he had a winner and the beat goes on.
There are many more Ws left in Coach K's arsenal. He's so much more than a basketball coach. He's a guy who has a great understanding of people and a feel for the flow of a game. Coach K has been blessed working at a school that attracts blue-chip student-athletes. His greatest talent is blending these kids as a unit.
Think about the talent he lost when Elton Brand, William Avery and company left. A lot of people felt it would take a long time to rebuild. But Duke cut down the nets this year in Minneapolis. He is more than just a coach. I remember him pouring out his heart to Jimmy V. He has done wonders with the Jimmy V Foundation, where he is co-chairman of the golf tournament, raising money to combat cancer.
Coach K utilizes basketball in a positive way to help others. He is involved with so many charities, serving as a leader on the Duke campus.
Both Krzyzewski and Chaney are examples and role models for youngsters today. They give their hearts and souls to every project they take on, with an unbelievable passion that rubs off on the people they surround. It is that inspiration that leads to success.
College basketball has been blessed to enjoy these two men. It is time for them to be honored. It will be special to see the busts of Chaney and Coach K in Springfield, Mass.
A SALUTE TO MOSES
I also want to salute Moses Malone. He was so impressive as a glass-eater and you had to love his durability.
He was a great example of a kid with a tremendous work ethic. Moses was not a spectacular high-riser or dunker, but a blue-collar guy who came to play. You simply had to put his name in the scorebook and he was a workaholic. You knew you would get a steady 20 points and 12 boards a night. He was a three-time MVP who played over 1,200 games without fouling out.
Moses had more offensive rebounds than anybody. He went after every rebound like it was his last meal. What a career he had, 19 years in the NBA. He always gave his best. I spoke with him a few weeks back at the Apple Blossom Festival. He told youngsters that they had to pursue their dreams and give their best.
Moses never forgot about the people who loved him, and to me, that is something special. I recruited him out of high school. I remember his saying that some day he would take care of his mother, Mary, and get her a new house. Indeed, he did that early in his pro career.
He was known for his saying of "four-four-four" to describe the Sixers' playoff run. Guys like Dr. J and coach Billy Cunningham would tell you he came to play every moment.
It's nice to see Malone join Chaney and Coach K in the Hall of Fame.