John Chaney Remembered For His Stint at Cheyney University

“College is the fountain of life. You have to drink from it.” – – John Chaney

Former Cheyney Head Hoops Coach Gets Call From the Hall

February 20th, Coach John Chaney was inducted into the Philadelphia Area Small College Coaches Association Hall of Fame for his contributions to small college basketball during his days as head coach at Cheyney University (then Cheyney State). Coach Chaney was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.

The induction ceremony took place at the Small College Coaches Association’s bi-weekly luncheon at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia on Tuesday, February 19, 2008.

The former longtime Temple University coach started his collegiate coaching career at Cheyney in 1972, taking the Wolves to a 23-5 record and a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championship. During his decade at Cheyney, coach Chaney’s teams won 20 or more games eight times and won four PSAC titles. Chaney also won his only NCAA National Championship in 1978 as his Wolves went 27-2 and defeated Green Bay 47-40 to capture the Division II title. His success earned him National Coach of the Year honors.

The following year Cheyney went 24-7 and advanced to the National semi-finals for the second consecutive year, where Green Bay defeated the Wolves 46-45. Overall in ten seasons at Cheyney, Chaney recorded a 232-56 record (80.5%) and an 18-7 (72%) record in the NCAA Division II Tournament.

Chaney becomes the 17th person and the tenth coach to be enshrined in the Philadelphia Area Small College Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He joins Philadelphia University Head Coach Herb Magee; West Chester University Head Coach Dick Delaney, and former small college coaching greats C. Alan Rowe (Widener); Bob Morgan (PCPS/USP), John Dzik (Cabrini), Nate Ware (Eastern/Valley Forge Military), Ernie Prudente (Haverford/Swarthmore), Larry Conti (Community College of Philadelphia) and the late Sam Cozen (Drexel) amongst the coaches honored.


As a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2001, John Chaney has engraved his mark on not only the Cheyney and Temple University basketball programs, but on a national scale over a collegiate career that spans four decades.

Throughout his storied coaching career, Chaney has proven to be a dedicated and strong-willed teacher, who can mold the character of his players with the positive values of discipline, teamwork and common decency. His formula for winning at life and basketball has made him one of the most respected, most successful and most quotable personalities associated with the great American game. With a sparkling winning percentage of .714, Chaney is recognized among the top coaches in the country. His very presence makes the Temple program one of national renown.

A success at all levels of competition; Chaney began his coaching career at Philadelphia’s Sayre Junior High, where his teams won 59 of 68 games. He then moved up to Simon Gratz High and quickly turned a struggling 1-17 club into a perennial winner.

Chaney entered the collegiate ranks at Cheyney State College in 1972 and proceeded to turn the program into a national Division II power. In 10 years at the Wolves’ helm, he directed his teams to a phenomenal 225-59 win-loss record, for a winning percentage of .792. His teams appeared in eight national championship tournaments and won the NCAA Division II title in 1978. He was named the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year that season. Chaney also found time to deliver spellbinding philosophical lectures on the subject of life at Cheyney State, for which he was awarded the State of Pennsylvania Distinguished Faculty Award in 1979.

A 1955 graduate of Bethune-Cookman College, Chaney also holds a master’s degree from Antioch College. He and his wife Jeanne are the parents of a daughter (Pamela) and two sons (John and Darryl), and have four grandchildren. The Chaneys reside in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia.

Chaney at Cheyney

  • 1972-73 Cheyney State 23- 5 NCAA Div. II Tournament
  • 1973-74 Cheyney State 19- 7 NCAA Div. II Tournament
  • 1974-75 Cheyney State 16- 9
  • 1975-76 Cheyney State 24- 5 NCAA Div. II Tournament
  • 1976-77 Cheyney State 20- 8 NCAA Div. II Tournament
  • 1977-78 Cheyney State 27- 2 NCAA Div. II Tournament (National Champion)
  • 1978-79 Cheyney State 24- 7 NCAA Div. II Tournament (3rd place)
  • 1979-80 Cheyney State 23- 5 NCAA Div. II Tournament
  • 1980-81 Cheyney State 21- 8
  • 1981-82 Cheyney State 28- 3 NCAA Div. II Tournament

On a side note…

In 1982 my family and I visited a member of our church St. Mary’s (Chester, PA) to check out the women’s Final Four. Cheyney University was reppin’ the area proudly as one of the nation’s powers in women’s college basketball. Their coach?

C. Vivian Stringer.

Stringer, who we all know now as the Rutgers University iconic coach, coincidentally is 2 wins away from achieving her 800th victory.

For a school to have two of the best of all time is a testament to a commitment of excellence that is lost nowadays.

I was honored to be the last to interview the college basketball legend while he was still coaching. You can find it here.

2 Responses to “John Chaney Remembered For His Stint at Cheyney University”

  1. Layla says:

    I can’t believe that Memphis lost it at the end. I guess that it goes to show the game begins and ends at the charity stripe.

  2. John Chaney was not just a coach he was and is a great man who was concerned about his players well being and the educational responsibilities. I was his Barber of cheyney State College. I made the mistake of getting on the basketball court with him hebeat my butt