Legendary Temple University men's basketball coach John Chaney has died, Temple University confirmed. He had just celebrated his 89th birthday.
Chaney led the Owls basketball team from 1982 to 2006, going to the NCAA Tournament 17 times, but never managing to reach a Final Four.
Chaney was known as a demanding coach, a tough defender of his team and a mentor to young athletes.
"Coach Chaney was like a father to me," said Temple men’s basketball coach and former Sixer Aaron McKie. "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."
"John Chaney was more than just a Hall of Fame Basketball coach. He was a Hall of Fame In life," said Temple's interim athletic director and former men’s basketball coach, Fran Dunphy. "He touched countless lives, including my own. I will miss him dearly and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time."
"John Chaney was a great coach, but he was so much more. For generations of Temple University 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 President Richard M. Englert, said in a statement, adding that he has known Chaney since he came to Temple in 1982. "I am also honored to say he was a dear friend," he added.
"For generations of his players, there is only one man whom they all lovingly called Coach even to this day," Englert said. "That was John Chaney. Our most sincere condolences go out to his wonderful family members. We will keep them all in our prayers."
Prior to his long run at Temple, Chaney coached at Cheyney University and Simon Gratz High School.
He is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and College Basketball Hall of Fame.
This story is developing and will be updated.