Chaney Rips Fab Five, Fisher -- Character Questioned
When the inevitable, routine question came, there was nothing routine about the answer of Temple Coach John Chaney.
Michigan had just eliminated the Owls 77-72 and Chaney was asked to assess the Wolverines' chances in the Final Four. Chaney declined, saying, "I don't want to talk about Michigan because it might express a bigger problem I have with Michigan."
Chaney left no doubt that he doesn't like the brash on-court behavior that has become a Wolverine trademark. Although he didn't name anyone, it was obvious that Chaney was taking aim at Michigan Coach Steve Fisher.
Asked if the increased taunting, hand-slapping and finger-pointing in college basketball bothers him, Chaney replied:
"It annoys me. . . . I don't like to see kids being raised by any coach allowing them to be taunting others, creating a bad image."
Chaney called it "inexcusable" for a coach not to control taunting. He said coaches have the perfect opportunity to "develop character" because they have a captive audience in their team and plenty of time.
"We don't teach any damn classes," Chaney said. "The only thing he (a coach) has to do is develop character in his kids and he (Fisher) fails at that.
"You can talk to any player here - we don't permit that," Chaney said of taunting. "If I saw a player doing it on the floor, I would take him out. That's why I'm concerned about people who coach this game and how they raise the kids."
Michigan's Jimmy King had this to say about Chaney's courtside manner: "He cussed `Fish' out and did not show respect. If he used that energy to coach rather than yell at us, maybe they could've won."
Added Juwan Howard, "What Chaney says on and off the court goes in one ear and out the other. I'm just sorry his team didn't make it. But he can sit back and watch us on TV."
Freshman forward Derrick Battie confirmed that Chaney has no tolerance for what he considers unsportsmanlike behavior.
"He doesn't like hand-slapping, talking back or getting in a player's face - just the opposite of what Michigan does out on the floor," Battie said.
Chaney said, "I might be an ass myself. My players are not permitted to do that because they represent so much more to us. . ."
Indeed, Chaney got the game's only technical foul, with 1:49 to play and Michigan ahead 67-62.
As Michigan's Ray Jackson prepared to shoot a free throw, Chaney hollered to Battie to retaliate if any Wolverine tried to push him out of rebounding position.
The explanation distributed to the media said the technical was for profanity. However, Battie said Chaney didn't use profanity. Battie also said the explanation he got from the scorer's table was that Chaney was being penalized by referee Larry Rose for a "blatant gesture," which mystified Battie as much as the profanity accusation.
Said Battie: "Juwan Howard had just reached over (Temple forward) Jason Ivey's back and pulled him down, and coach just said, `Derrick, the next time he tries that with you, back up and put him on his butt.' I said, `Yes, sir,' and by the time I'd said that, they'd called the technical."
Jackson made one of the free throws then Jalen Rose sank the two shots awarded on the technical. Michigan added two more points on the possession when Rose was fouled and sank another pair, building the lead to 72-62.
"My young players were being taken advantage of by them (Michigan) putting their hands on them and pushing them underneath the basket," Chaney said. "They (Michigan) were getting second and third shots. They did the same thing against George Washington and they did the same thing earlier in this game and got away with it. I was trying to get across to him to remember and not let it happen."
The nicest thing Chaney had to say about Michigan was to compliment the Wolverines for not abandoning their pound-it-inside game plan after falling behind by 10 points.
"They recognized we were thin underneath and just stayed with it," Chaney said. "Had they abandoned their game plan for outside shooting, we probably would have won."
Michigan scored 15 of its 17 second-half baskets from inside the key.
The Wolverines got the biggest Temple player, 6-foot-11 freshman William Cunningham, to foul out with more than nine minutes left.
The defeat ended a memorable season for Temple (20-13), which started two freshmen, two juniors and a sophomore. In mid-February, Temple had an unimpressive 10-10 record.
Chaney said coaching this year's team "was the most extraordinary experience I've ever had." Knight-Ridder Newspapers and Detroit News contributed to this article.
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