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Chuck Daly

In a coaching career filled with memorable achievements, Chuck Daly is known worldwide as the head coach of the 1992 Dream Team.

 

Featuring basketball's best of the best, he blended the superstars on that Dream Team, led by Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, into a selfless, cohesive team that took the world by storm.

 

The U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Team never was challenged as a new era of international basketball made its debut in 1992. International rules, which previously had prevented only NBA players from being eligible for Olympic basketball, were changed by the FIBA membership in 1989. With the rule change, USA Basketball set forth on its mission of assembling the best possible team, and what a team USA Basketball assembled.

 

Daly led the USA team through the 1992 FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament with an unblemished 6-0 record. Then three weeks later led the U.S. to an 8-0 record and the Olympic gold medal in Barcelona.

 

Averaging an Olympic record 117.3 points a game, the U.S. squad won by an average of 43.8 points, and the closest any opponent could come was 32 points (117-85 versus Croatia in the gold medal game).

 

"You will see a team of professionals in the Olympics again," said Daly following his team’s gold-medal run. "But I don't think you'll see another team quite like this. This was a majestic team."

 

By capturing gold, Daly became the first coach to win both an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal.

 

As head coach of the NBA Detroit Pistons, Daly led the Pistons’ Bad Boy teams to consecutive NBA titles in 1989 and 1990 and became only the fifth coach in NBA history to win back-to-back championships.

 

Daly is a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, having been inducted in 1994 for his individual coaching career, and in 2010 he was posthumously inducted as the head coach of the "Dream Team.”

 

The The National Basketball Coaches Association’s Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award, an annual award given by the NBA to a longtime NBA coach's life in basketball and his "standard of integrity, competitive excellence and tireless promotion" of the game, is named after him. 

 

In 1996 when the NBA celebrated its 50th anniversary, he was named one of the 10 greatest coaches in league history. The Pistons retired No. 2 in 1997 to commemorate his consecutive NBA titles.

Born in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania, he played basketball at St. Bonaventure University for one year before transferring to Bloomsburg University, where he graduated in 1952.

 

He began his basketball coaching career in 1955 at Punxsutawney Area High School (Pa.). After compiling a 111–70 record in eight seasons at Punxsutawney, Daly was named an assistant coach at Duke under Vic Bubas from 1964-69. With Daly a part of the coaching staff, the Blue Devils won 20 or more games in a season four times, won two ACC Championships (1964, 1966) and made two NCAA Final Four appearances (1964, 1966).

 

Succeeding Bob Cousy as head coach at Boston College, he coached the Eagles to a 26-24 record during two seasons (1969-70 to 1970-71), then spent six seasons at the University of Pennsylvania (1971-72 to 1976-77), leading Penn to four Ivy League championships (1972, 1973, 1974, 1975). His overall record in six seasons at Penn was 125–38 and 74–10 in Ivy League action.

 

Daly moved up into the NBA coaching ranks in 1978 as an assistant under Billy Cunningham with the Philadelphia 76ers and spent three seasons there. His first NBA head coaching job was in 1981-82 with Cleveland, but he was let go after the Cavaliers went 9-32 during the first half of the 1981-82 season.

 

In 1983, Daly took over a Detroit team that had never had two straight winning seasons and led the Pistons to nine straight winning seasons and nine straight playoff appearances. Building a team that featured Joe DumarsBill LaimbeerRick MahornDennis Rodman and Isaiah Thomas, he led them to back-to-back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990.

 

Leaving Detroit after the 1991-92 season, Daly took over the New Jersey Nets for two seasons (1992-93 to 1993-94) and led them to the playoffs both times. After a stint in broadcasting, he returned to the NBA in 1997 with the Orlando Magic and won 74 games in two seasons (1997-98 to 1998-99). He then retired at the age of 68.

 

All told, in 14 NBA seasons Daly’s squads posted a 638-437 record (.593 winning percentage) and were 75-51 in NBA playoff games, appearing in 12 playoffs.

 

Daly was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2009 and died on May 9, 2009, at the age of 78.

Chuck Daly USA Basketball Coaching Synopsis

TEAM
POSITION
 W-L 
PCT 
MEDAL / FINISH
1992 U.S. Olympic Team Head Coach
8-0 1.000  Gold Medal
1992 USA Olympic Qualifying Team Head Coach
6-0 1.000  Gold Medal
USA Basketball Coaching Record
 
14-0
1.000
2 Gold Medals

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