PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- John Chaney wasn't there to rant and rave at
the officials on the sideline. His Temple players didn't hear his
The absence of the suspended Hall of Fame coach made for a
different atmosphere at the half-empty Liacouras Center. It's one
the Owls and their fans will have to get used to -- at least for a
Chaney missed Temple's 61-48 win over Massachusetts on Saturday,
serving the first of a three-game suspension for ordering rough
play by one of his players, who subsequently broke an opponent's
"My left ear doesn't hurt, I know that," joked Dan Leibovitz,
Chaney's top assistant who took over the coaching duties. "It was
a lot quieter."
Leibovitz, 42 years younger than the 73-year-old Chaney, seemed
uptight in the opening minutes, standing with his arms behind his
back and offering occasional encouragement. He loosened up as the
game went on, giving a fist pump and high-fiving his players when
the Owls went up 10 early in the second half.
It could be an audition. While Chaney was noncommittal Friday
about returning for another season, saying he would "take
inventory of myself," he has been harshly criticized for his
actions and there have been grumblings by some that he should
"I haven't talked to John about anything other than the three
games he won't be coaching," Temple athletic director Bill
Bradshaw said at the game.
The suspension resulted from Chaney's actions during Tuesday's
game against Saint Joseph's. Angered by what he thought were
illegal screens, Chaney put in seldom-used 6-foot-8, 250 pound
Nehemiah Ingram against the Hawks on Tuesday to "send a message."
Ingram, whom Chaney later referred to as a "goon," fouled
Hawks forward John Bryant hard, breaking his arm. Bryant will
likely miss the rest of the season.
Ingram, his black socks pulled up to his knees, had two fouls
and three points in 6 minutes Saturday. In the first half, he was
not introduced when he came in during a timeout. When he subbed in
again in the second half, the crowd cheered, with only a few boos.
Ingram said he would like to apologize to Bryant in person.
Chaney apologized to Bryant on Friday.
"The toughest part was hearing John Bryant would not be able to
play for the rest of the season," Ingram said. "I just want
people to know I'm a good guy at heart. I was raised in a church
all my life. I'm not what everybody thinks I am. I'm a real nice
Leibovitz had Ingram sit near him on the bench and wanted to
play him early to show he's more than a goon.
"The kid can play basketball," Leibovitz said. "He's not
someone you have to throw in the game to necessarily rough somebody
Leibovitz, part of Chaney's staff for the last nine seasons, set
a different tone than his boss. He made it a point not to raise his
voice, didn't gripe with the refs, and gave nothing but positive
instructions to his team.
"I couldn't be someone who motivated from the negative,"
During Saturday's 65-60 loss to Rhode Island, Saint Joseph's
players wore black armbands embroidered with Bryant's uniform
number 34. Bryant was with the team.
"Neither the players or I will comment on what went on this
week," Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said after the game.
"This game had nothing to do with what went on [last week]."
In a statement issued Saturday, Saint Joseph's said it was
encouraged by Temple's decision to suspend Chaney and by the
coach's show of remorse.
On Saturday, there were no chants for the suspended coach from
the crowd, and no banners of support or protest.
A banner wishing Chaney and the team luck that normally hangs
over their entrance tunnel was replaced with one promoting next
month's NCAA women's regional.
Bradshaw said most of the calls and e-mails he'd received from
students and fans were full of outrage over Chaney's actions.
Bradshaw said all decisions involving Chaney "were made in the
best interest of Temple and Saint Joseph's."
The first four rows of the student section behind one of the
baskets were empty and roped off after some students spit at Saint
Joseph's players and cheerleaders on Tuesday night. There weren't
many students in attendance on Saturday anyway.
Those that were there, however, seemed to want Chaney to return
for his 24th season with the Owls.
"He's an old-time coach. That's how it was back in the day,"
junior Kevin Daniels said.
The only coach in trouble Saturday was UMass' Steve Lappas,
whistled for a technical foul near the end of the first half.
Mardy Collins led the Owls (14-11, 10-4 Atlantic 10) with 25
points and Mark Tyndale had 10. Rashaun Freeman had 15 points for
Massachusetts (15-10, 8-6).
Chaney's only other suspension came in 1994, when Temple
suspended him for one game after he threatened then-Massachusetts
coach John Calipari during a postgame news conference.
Chaney is 721-294 in a 33-year career that earned him a spot in
the Hall of Fame.