College - Houston '68
From an unforgettable night in the Astrodome in 1968, to the magic of Celtic Green, to the Knicks' perennial post-season success, Don Chaney, 55, has been a main contributor to many of the game's greatest success stories for more than three decades. It's a tradition he hopes to continue in 2001-02, as he takes over the head coaching job after seven years as the Knicks' top assistant.
As player and coach, Chaney has left an indelible mark across the NBA landscape. Now, one of the game's greatest defensive players of the '70s -- and the winner of two NBA Championship rings -- has found a home with perhaps the league's premier defensive team of the last decade.
In 2001-02, Don celebrates his 22nd season as an NBA coach. A member of two NBA World Championship teams as a player with the Boston Celtics and the League's Coach of the Year with Houston in 1990-91, Chaney joined the Knicks' staff on August 9, 1995. On Dec. 10, 2001, Chaney became only the 19th head coach in the franchise's 56-year history. Chaney served as New York's assistant coach under Don Nelson and later, Van Gundy.
"As a player, I always enjoyed playing here," says Chaney. "The fans are the most knowledgeable anywhere. You knew, as a player, that they were basketball people. They know it and they love it.
"When you come to the Garden, you come to compete, either as a player or coach."
In nine seasons as an NBA head coach with the Los Angeles Clippers (1984-85 through 1986-87), Houston Rockets (1988-89 through 1991-92) and Detroit Pistons (1993-94 through 1994-95), Chaney has posted an all-time career mark of 265-382 (.410). Prior to joining the Knicks, Chaney led the Pistons to a 48-116 mark over 1993-94 and 1994-95.
Don won NBA Coach of the Year honors by leading the 1990-91 Rockets to a 52-30 mark, an 11-win improvement over the prior season. Chaney's 164 wins as Rockets coach are third in franchise history behind Rudy Tomjanovich (387) and Bill Fitch (216).
In the summer of 1994, Chaney was an assistant coach on Don Nelson's staff for the gold medal-winning United States squad at the World Championship Games in Toronto. He has been on the coaching staffs of two Eastern Conference All-Star squads: under Mike Fratello in the 1988 Game in Chicago, and alongside Jeff Van Gundy in the All-Star Game at Oakland.
"That's my dream now, to win a ring as a coach," says Chaney. "I was lucky enough to win two as a player, then got another in '94 at the World Championship Games. There's one more goal left."
A five-time NBA All-Defensive second team selection, "Duck" averaged 8.4 ppg and .436 shooting over 790 games in a 12-year playing career with the Celtics (1968-69 through 1974-75, 1977-78 through 1979-80), Los Angeles Lakers (1976-77 through 1977-78) and the ABA's legendary Spirits of St. Louis (1975-76).
Chaney, the Celtics' first-round pick (12th overall) in the 1968 NBA Draft, was a member of Boston's World Championship teams in 1969 and 1974, and gained an everlasting place in Celtic lore as the only man to play alongside both Bill Russell and Larry Bird. His backcourt defensive tenacity earned him NBA All-Defensive second team selections in 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1977.
Following his playing days, Chaney served as an assistant coach with the Pistons (1980-81 through 1982-83, and 1992-93), Clippers (1983-84 through 1984-85) and Atlanta Hawks (1987-88).
A collegiate star at the University of Houston, Chaney averaged 12.6 ppg over four years, during which the Cougars went 81-12 and appeared in the NCAA Final Four twice. In Houston's fabled 71-69 win over top-ranked UCLA before 52,693 at the Astrodome on January 20, 1968, Chaney played the entire 40 minutes with 11 points, six rebounds and three key steals down the stretch. Fittingly, the ball was in his hands when the final buzzer sounded, giving the Cougars one of the most storied triumphs in basketball history.
A native of Baton Rouge, La., and a 1991 inductee into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, Don was born on March 22, 1946. Don and his wife Jackie live in Houston and have three children: Michael, 31, Donna, 28 and Kara, 25. Donna and Kara are both graduates of the University of Texas, and Kara is in her second year of medical school at the University of Texas (Dallas). Don and Jackie are also proud grandparents of Michael's eight-year old son, Jarron Chaney, a budding football star, and Donna's four-month old son Alexander.