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Chuck Daly
Born July 20, 1930(1930-07-20)
St. Marys, Pennsylvania,
United States
Died May 9, 2009 (aged 78)
Jupiter, Florida,
United States

Charles Jerome "Chuck" Daly (July 20, 1930 – May 9, 2009[1]) was an American basketball head coach. He led the Detroit Pistons to consecutive National Basketball Association (NBA) Championships in 1989 and 1990, and the Dream Team to the men's basketball gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics. He had a 14-year NBA coaching career.


Early life and career

Born in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, to Earl and Geraldine Daly on July 20, 1930, Daly attended Kane Area High School in nearby Kane. He matriculated at St. Bonaventure University for one year before transferring to Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1952.[2] After serving two years in the military,[1] he began his basketball coaching career in 1955 at Punxsutawney (PA) High School, compiling a 111–70 record in eight seasons.[2]

He moved on to the college level in 1963 as an assistant coach under Vic Bubas at Duke University. During his six seasons there, the Blue Devils won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship and advanced to the Final Four, both in 1964 and 1966.[3] He replaced Bob Cousy as head coach at Boston College in 1969. After the Eagles went 11–13 in Daly's first campaign at the school, they improved to 15–11 in 1971.[4]

Daly became the head coach at the University of Pennsylvania in 1971, succeeding Dick Harter. Penn won twenty or more games and captured the Ivy League title in each of its first four seasons with Daly at the helm.[5] The most successful campaign was his first in 1972, when the Quakers went 25–3 overall, 13–1 in the conference, and advanced to the NCAA East Regional Final, losing to North Carolina.[6] His record after six seasons there was 125–38 overall, 74–10 in the Ivy League. Additionally, all five starters on the Penn team that made the Final Four in 1979 had been successfully recruited by Daly.[5]

Daly was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2009, which he died of on May 9, 2009, at the age of 78. He is survived by his wife Terry and their daughter Cydney.

Professional career

The Detroit Pistons, a club that had never recorded back-to-back winning seasons, hired Chuck Daly in 1983. The Pistons got into the playoffs every year he was there and reached the NBA finals three years in a row, winning two consecutive championships, in 1989 and 1990. Daly, who retired from coaching the first time, after the 1993–94 season with the New Jersey Nets, coached a total of 14 NBA seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, New Jersey Nets and Orlando Magic. He compiled a 564–379 (.598) career record, 13th best among all coaches and ninth best by percentage. On the combined NBA/ABA victory list, Daly's 564 wins places him 17th all-time. His 74–48 playoff record, which includes back-to-back NBA championships ranks fourth best in NBA history by wins and eighth best by percentage (.607). He is the only Hall of Fame coach to win both an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal.

In 1978, Daly joined the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers as an assistant coach. During the 1981 season, he was hired as head coach by the Cleveland Cavaliers, but was fired before the season ended. He then returned to the 76ers as a broadcaster until he was hired in 1983 by the Pistons. He gained worldwide notoriety as coach of the famed Olympic Dream Team, but long before Barcelona and the gold medal, Daly had established himself as one of the game's premier coaches. Daly was coach of the U. S. "Dream Team" that swept to an easy gold medal at the 1992 Olympics. He had resigned from the Detroit job and was hired by the NBA's New Jersey Nets that fall. After two seasons with the Nets, Daly retired. However, he returned to coaching in 1997 with the Orlando Magic. Daly spent two more seasons in Orlando before retiring permanently at the end of the 1998–99 season.

While serving as the Pistons coach, Daly has also served as a color commentator for TBS's NBA Playoff coverage, at the time when his Pistons were awaiting for their next playoff opponent. He would reprise that same role during the mid-1990s, in between coaching stints with the Nets and the Magic, this time on sister channel TNT.

College coaching record

Season School (Conference) Overall Record Conference Record (Position) Postseason Tournaments
1969–70 Boston College (independent) 11–13
1970–71 Boston College (independent) 15–11
1971–72 Pennsylvania (Ivy League) 25–3 13–1 (1st) NCAA, Regional Final
1972–73 Pennsylvania (Ivy League) 21–7 12–2 (1st) NCAA, Second Round
1973–74 Pennsylvania (Ivy League) 21–6 13–1 (1st) NCAA, First Round
1974–75 Pennsylvania (Ivy League) 23–5 13–1 (1st) NCAA, First Round
1975–76 Pennsylvania (Ivy League) 17–9 11–3 (2nd)
1976–77 Pennsylvania (Ivy League) 18–8 12–2 (2nd)
Totals 8 seasons 151–62 74–10

Professional coaching record

Season Team Season Record Playoff Record Playoff Result
1981–82 Cleveland Cavaliers 9–32
1983–84 Detroit Pistons 49–33 2–3 Eastern Conference First Round
1984–85 Detroit Pistons 46–36 5–4 Eastern Conference Semifinals
1985–86 Detroit Pistons 46–36 1–3 Eastern Conference First Round
1986–87 Detroit Pistons 52–30 10–5 Eastern Conference Finals
1987–88 Detroit Pistons 54–28 14–9 NBA Finals
1988–89 Detroit Pistons 63–19 15–2 NBA Champions
1989–90 Detroit Pistons 59–23 15–5 NBA Champions
1990–91 Detroit Pistons 50–32 7–8 Eastern Conference Finals
1991–92 Detroit Pistons 48–34 2–3 Eastern Conference First Round
1992–93 New Jersey Nets 43–39 2–3 Eastern Conference First Round
1993–94 New Jersey Nets 45–37 1–3 Eastern Conference First Round
1997–98 Orlando Magic 41–41
1998–99 Orlando Magic 33–17 1–3 Eastern Conference First Round
Totals 14 seasons 638–437 75–51


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