Chaney led the Wolves to victory in the 1978 NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship, only team from Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference to win top title
As the nation mourns the loss of legendary men’s basketball coach John Chaney for the positive influences he made on and off the court his entire life, Cheyney University recognizes the impact he made on the university as the head basketball coach for the Wolves from 1972 to 1982.
During his tenure with the university, when it was called Cheyney State College, Coach Chaney amassed a dominating record of 225 wins and 59 losses. He victoriously led the Wolves to winning the 1978 NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship – the only Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference men’s basketball team to ever win the national title.
“He forever placed Cheyney in the history books by accomplishing a major feat that no other DII school in Pennsylvania has ever done,” said President Aaron A. Walton. “He tremendously impacted the lives of his players, education, culture, the Philadelphia region, and the entire country. Our deepest condolences to his wife Jeanne Dixon, and to all of Coach Chaney’s family and friends.”
According to President Walton, although Coach Chaney moved on to Temple University in 1982, once you are a member of the Cheyney Wolves Family, you are Cheyney Family for life.
“His success at Cheyney opened the door for him to assume the role as head coach for the Owls and continue his success at mentoring young minds in the Philadelphia region,” said President Walton.
Along with his impressive record and national championship at Cheyney and subsequently leading Temple University to 17 NCAA Tournament appearances over 24 seasons, Coach Chaney was recognized as a member of Cheyney Athletics Hall of Fame and inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001, followed by the National Collegiate Hall of Fame in 2006.
“Coach John Chaney was an instrumental and historic figure within the Cheyney Family,” said Kevin Guile, President of the Cheyney University National Alumni Association. “Although most of his notoriety was earned as a basketball coach and leading Cheyney State College to winning the 1978 NCAA Division II Championship, he was also a mentor, teacher, and motivational speaker to all those that were fortunate to have been in his presence. The Cheyney Family will miss our beloved Coach.”
Chaney coached the Wolves during the same time C. Vivian Stringer coached the women’s basketball team. According to a Dec. 14, 1999, Home News Tribune article about the two, when Chaney and Stringer coached together at Cheyney State, they would leave the partition in the gym open, eavesdropping on each other’s lectures. They eventually combined some practice sessions and even scrimmaged one another that allowed the men and women to work together on skills.
Similar to Chaney, Coach Stringer launched her career at Cheyney before landing a head coaching jobs at Iowa and Rutgers, where still coaches today after entering her 50th year overall as a head basketball coach with 1,041 career wins.
Cheyney University is planning a special tribute to Coach Chaney as part of its Founder’s Day Celebration on Feb. 25, commemorating the university’s 184th Anniversary.