In a season during which the basketball world has already lost legends Pete Newell, Johnny “Red” Kerr, Norm Van Lier and Kay Yow, today brings more sad news with the death of Hall of Fame coach Chuck Daly.
Daly had been battling pancreatic cancer, and passed away this morning at his home in Jupiter, Florida. He won two championships with the “Bad Boys” Detroit Pistons, coached the original Dream Team to the gold medal at the ’92 Olympics, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in ’94. And yet, similar to Jerry Sloan, he somehow never won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award.
Daly played college ball at St. Bonaventure, and after coaching at a high school in Pennsylvania, began as an assistant at Duke, where he stayed for six years. He parlayed that into head coaching jobs at Boston College and later at Penn. In 1978 he became an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers, and got his first head coaching job with the Cavs in 1981. In ’83 he took over the Pistons, leading a crew that included Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman and Bill Laimbeer to two titles. Later in his career, he coaached the Nets and Magic.
Back in 1997, the Pistons retired #2 in Daly’s honor.
And yet similar to Jerry Sloan, Daly never