Chaney made decision to not coach tourney

Updated: March 1, 2005, 6:17 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- John Chaney extended his own suspension by banning himself from the Temple sidelines for the Atlantic 10 tournament.

The Hall of Famer continued a week of apologies and punishments Monday when he announced he won't return after the school's three-game suspension ends with the close of the regular season.

John Chaney
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesWill new Temple coach Fran Dunphy adopt John Chaney's (above) penchant for building a difficult out-of-conference schedule?

"I believe the fair thing is for me not to coach during the Atlantic 10 championship tournament in Cincinnati," the 73-year-old Chaney said in a statement.

Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw told ESPN.com's Andy Katz late Monday night that this decision came from Chaney, and not from the administration.

"John feels this is the right thing to do. We never talked about him missing Cincinnati [site of the A-10 tournament]. It never came up from the conference or from us," Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw said that when he saw Chaney Monday afternoon, the Hall of Fame caoch did not mention that he was going to suspend himself from the conference tournament. Chaney made the decision early Monday evening on his own.

Chaney first suspended himself for one game and then had the school extend it to three games over his ordering rough play from one of his players in a recent game that resulted in an injury to senior John Bryant of Saint Joseph's.

If the Owls reach the A-10 championship game, there's a chance they could play the Hawks again.

"Now, when we go to our championship, it will be one less distraction," Atlantic 10 commissioner Linda Bruno said Monday.

St. Joseph's president Timothy R. Lannon released a statement on Tuesday saying the self-imposed actions taken by Chaney were suitable.

"On behalf of Saint Joseph's University, I accept the measures taken in response to the events of last week," Lannon said. "The willingness of Temple coach John Chaney to meet with John Bryant and family on our campus and later remove himself from the Atlantic 10 tournament is most appropriate."

Lannon wasn't satisfied with the initial one-game self-imposed suspension by Chaney.

"The overwhelming feeling within the Saint Joseph's community is that the remedies first announced by Coach Chaney and Temple University did not fully address the severity of what occurred," Lannon wrote. "We believe it is the role of institutional and conference officials, not solely an individual coach, to demonstrate the necessary leadership in upholding the league's code of conduct and assuring the safety of student-athletes in competition."

Phil Martelli, the quick-quipped Hawks coach, has refused to comment and declined to participate in Monday's A-10 coaches' teleconference -- the same one on which Chaney last week threatened to take action if the Hawks continued setting what he thought were illegal screens.

Active coaches with 700 wins
Coach, current school Wins
Bob Knight, Texas Tech 849
Eddie Sutton, Oklahoma State 775
Lute Olson, Arizona 734
John Chaney, Temple 722
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke 715
Jim Boeheim, Syracuse 700

Chaney followed through on his threat, using Nehemiah Ingram to "send a message." Ingram fouled out in four minutes, including the hit on Bryant that left the senior sprawled on the court for several minutes. An MRI later revealed he had a broken arm that ended his season and college career.

Chaney had apologized to Bryant and his family and offered to pay his medical bills. The coach met with the family of Bryant on Sunday on the Hawks' campus. According to multiple sources, the meeting was "very tough" for Bryant's family.

A number of attorneys have emailed and called Saint Joseph's and the Bryant family asking if they want to file a lawsuit. But the school and the Bryant family haven't made up their mind as to whether they will proceed with any legal action.

Chaney on Monday apologized again in a statement to Bryant, both schools and the conference.

"Last week, my words and actions were wrong, wrong, wrong," he said.

"I never intended -- nor did any of my players intend -- for anyone to be injured, regardless of what may have been said emotionally before, during and after the game," Chaney said. "But the unfortunate fact is that John Bryant was injured. I have taken full responsibility for my words and actions, and have apologized from my heart."

Bruno said there were no plans to take action against Ingram, who apologized after Saturday's game.

"You just have a young man that was following what a coach told him to do," she said. "[Chaney] didn't tell him to break a young man's arm, but he told him to issue hard fouls. We felt he was in a game situation and doing what he was told to do."

Chaney is still coaching the Owls at practice, though he won't attend any of their games. Assistant Dan Leibovitz is coaching the team.

The Owls (14-11, 10-6) clinched a tie for second place in the Atlantic 10 East Division. A Temple win or a Fordham loss will earn the Owls a first-round bye in the conference tournament.

A Temple spokesman did not know if Chaney would be allowed to coach in the postseason. The Owls could earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by winning the A-10 title. Even if the Owls lost their last three games, they would finish with a .500 record and be eligible for the NIT.

Bruno said it would be up to Chaney or Temple to decide if the coach should continue in the postseason.

Chaney avoids another distraction in returning to Cincinnati for the conference tournament. Last month, Chaney scolded the people of Ohio, the state that helped President Bush win re-election with 20 electoral votes, saying, "It's not the people I hate, it's what they did that I hate."

Information from ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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