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Scott Howard-Cooper

The lessons of recently deceased coach Chuck Daly will live on in the upcoming book, 'Daly Memories.'
Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Williams takes special honor in capturing essence of Daly

By Scott Howard-Cooper, for
Posted Sep 4 2009 12:30PM

There will be motivational moments the publisher expects to be applicable for everyone from teenage school kids to corporate CEOs. There will be a chain of quick-hitting chapters with quirky titles. And there will be basketball stories that translate into life lessons.

Mostly, there will be Chuck Daly.

"Daly Memories" is the book he talked about but never got to do before dying May 9, some two months after the Pistons announced he was being treated for pancreatic cancer. It is scheduled for release by Advantage Books on Nov. 15, early in the first season without the Hall of Fame coach.

Pat Williams, the Magic senior vice president and a veteran author, took on the project with an understandable appreciation. The entire NBA had an affection for Daly, but Williams had a history -- he was general manager of the 76ers when Daly was hired as an assistant coach in 1978. He was also in the Magic front office when Daly spent two seasons coaching in Orlando in what would be the final stop of a career with a .593 winning percentage and two championships with Detroit.

"This incredible work of life, this incredible valley of information," Williams said. "What a unique man."

Williams said he did close to 100 interviews, from family members and friends from Daly's youth to the more-familiar names from his time in college and pro basketball, the players, former colleagues, team executives and media members who crossed paths during 78 years of life. Joe Dumars, Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn. Hubie Brown, Billy Cunningham and Rick Carlisle. Rollie Massimino, Bucky Waters and Vic Bubas. Dick Harter, Jack McCloskey and Ron Rothstein. Brendan Suhr and Brendan Malone.

"His friends and associates will read this and say, 'Yeah, that's Chuck. I can hear him,' " Williams said.

"Basketball fans who knew of his success will say, 'There's more to this man than I thought.' They'll say, 'I saw him on ESPN Classic against the Lakers in the '88 Finals' or something like that 'and I can see his great suits and hair and I can smell his cologne. But I didn't really know him.'

"And then there's the third group, the people who maybe want the lessons even if they don't have much of a basketball background. That bank president or high school principal will say, 'I'm going to school on this guy.' The mission is to pull between the covers the depth and magnitude of Chuck Daly. You don't want that to disappear."

There are Chuck-isms, memorable Daly phrases that became chapter titles.

Get Past Mad

The chapter on pushing through angry moments, dealing with the problem rather than letting it fester.

I'm Not a Coach, I'm a Salesman

The chapter on managing people and getting different personalities to move in the same direction.

Never Trust Happiness

The chapter on not getting complacent when success comes.

Players Play, Coaches Coach, Bus Drivers Drive the Bus

The chapter on putting people in the best position to succeed and then letting them do their job without micro-managing.

Fifty-three chapters in all, most as pointed as one- or two-pages long.

"It's a tribute to him," said Advantage Media Group CEO Adam Witty, who originally had conversations with Daly about doing a similar book. "But more importantly, to those who didn't have the chance to know Chuck personally, this will go a long way and do a service telling them about life lessons and leadership lessons from one of the great coaches and leaders of our time."

Daly was 638-437 in 13 full seasons with Detroit, New Jersey and Orlando and part of another with Cleveland. Along with the two championships with the Bad Boy Pistons, he was the coach of the original Dream Team, the squad that tore through the 1992 Olympics. In 1996, he was voted one of the top 10 coaches in NBA history.

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