Last week in Philadelphia, Temple University basketball coach John Chaney stooped so low that he could wrestle with Mini Me.
He had one of his “goon” players go out against rival Saint Joseph’s University and practice street fighting moves. Upset with calls by officials, Chaney sent in seldom played Nehemiah Ingram to “send a message.”
Ingram sent a message all right – a message describing what kind of man Chaney is and what he stands for.
Before fouling out within four minutes, Ingram’s presence became known through his physical, dangerous play that most likely ended one senior’s basketball career.
Ingram, whom Chaney labeled a “goon” after the game, laid a vicious hit on St. Joseph’s senior John Bryant that resulted in a broken arm for Bryant.
This was a type of hit you would see Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis lay on a skinny wide receiver coming across the middle of the field.
Not only was Chaney’s unprofessional decision dangerous, it was utterly embarrassing to Temple and the NCAA that Chaney mentioned such a premeditated idea the week before in a press conference. He told reporters that if St. Joseph’s were to keep setting illegal screens – at least in his dark, owl-like eyes – then he would take action.
Hey Chaney, this isn’t Patton versus Hitler here, it is a college basketball game where student athletes compete in a game they love and respect! The day after the game, Chaney suspended himself from the Temple bench for one game. One game?
Chaney, this isn’t the Kobe Bryant case where you can throw around money and sneak your way out of trouble.
You told people you would take action. You told your “goon” player to go send a message. Your stupidity and lack of respect for the game cost a senior his final games as a basketball player.
If you are a college athlete, try and imagine how you would feel if some crazed coach sent a “goon” with a message for you.
“Dear senior, sorry I broke your arm and ended your career, but hey, you can join a country club and play golf for the rest of your life – love, Coach Chaney.”
Since then, Temple Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw announced Chaney would serve a suspension through the Atlantic 10 tournament.
The only possible way Chaney can return to the team is if they make the NCAA or National Invitation Tournament. Chaney also met with Bryant and his family to apologize for his actions.
The worst part about this ordeal is that Chaney betrayed his morals as a coach, teacher and role model. His 22-year tenure at Temple is the sole reason he will keep his job.
Chaney’s persona as one of college basketball’s greatest coaches is now viewed as a desperate, angry coach that lost sight of his role in collegiate athletics.
Forgive and forget? Not a chance. No one will ever know how Bryant feels about Chaney and the hit he took, but one thing is certain, Chaney’s legacy as a great college basketball coach is tarnished.
It is beyond damaged – his 722 coaching victories fall in the same philosophical connotation as Barry Bonds’ home run records and Michael Jackson’s famous moonwalk – it takes years’ to build a good reputation and seconds to destroy it.
I wish ESPN had a “dream job” show to be selected as the Temple athletic director or the Atlantic 10 commissioner.
I would give old Chaney a taste of his own medicine. Give me the entire St. Joseph’s basketball team and throw in Head Coach Phil Martelli.
Dress Chaney in a Hawk’s cheerleader outfit and line him up under the basket for a drill called “Foul the Owl.”
Then let every player get a running start and knock the stuffing out of the old bastard. Message to coach Chaney – “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”
Rovinsky can be reached at email@example.com.