Chuck Daly

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Chuck Daly
Chuck Daly.jpg
Head coach
Personal information
Born (1930-07-20)July 20, 1930
St. Marys, Pennsylvania
Died May 9, 2009(2009-05-09) (aged 78)
Jupiter, Florida
Nationality American
Coaching career 1981–1994
Career history
As coach:
19811982 Cleveland Cavaliers
19831992 Detroit Pistons
19921994 New Jersey Nets
19971999 Orlando Magic
Career highlights and awards
Basketball Hall of Fame as coach

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 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team ("The Dream Team") to the gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Daly is considered to be one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time, despite not having as many titles of the other all time NBA coaches that fall into this same category. Daly's 1989-1990 Bad Boys back to back NBA championship team is considered to be one of the greatest teams of all time. Daly's team fell to the Lakers in game 7 just barely in the 1988 NBA Finals the previuous year of the 1989 title preventing what would of been a 3-peat, especially with the talent he had to work with compared to the super elite hall of fame talent the Lakers had along with Magic Johnson the greatest player of the 80's decade. He had a 14-year NBA coaching career, and eight seasons in the college ranks prior.

Daly is a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, being inducted in 1994 for his individual coaching career,[2] and in 2010 was posthumously inducted as the head coach of the "Dream Team".[3] The Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award is named after him.[4]

Early life[edit]

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.[5] After serving two years in the military,[1] he began his basketball coaching career in 1955 at Punxsutawney High School.

College career[edit]

After compiling a 111–70 record in eight seasons[5] at Punxsutawney (PA) High School, Daly moved on to the college level in 1963 as an assistant coach under Vic Bubas at Duke University. During his six seasons at Duke, the Blue Devils won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship and advanced to the Final Four, both in 1964 and 1966.[6] Daly then replaced Bob Cousy as head coach at Boston College in 1969. The Eagles recorded an 11–13 record in Daly's first year at the school, and improved to 15–11 in 1971.[7]

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.[8] The most successful campaign was his first in 1972, when the Quakers recorded a 25–3 record overall (13–1 in their conference), and advanced to the NCAA East Regional Final, eventually losing to North Carolina.[9] An additional significant success for Daly was in 1979, when all five starters on Pennsylvania's Final Four team had initially been recruited by Daly.[8] His overall record after six seasons at Penn was 125–38 (74–10 within the Ivy League).

NBA and international career[edit]

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 Detroit Pistons. The Pistons, a club that had never recorded back-to-back winning seasons before Daly's tenure, made the NBA playoffs each year he was head coach (1983–1992), as well as reaching the NBA finals three times, winning two consecutive NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. While serving as the Pistons coach, Daly was also a color commentator for TBS's NBA Playoff coverage.

Daly was named head coach of the U.S. Dream Team that won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics,[3] before moving his NBA career onto the New Jersey Nets for the 1992-93 NBA season. Daly stayed with the Nets for two seasons, before his first retirement.

Daly again took up a role as color commentator for TNT's NBA coverage during the mid-1990s before coming out of retirement to coach the Orlando Magic at the beginning of the 1997-98 season. Daly stayed two seasons with the Magic and then retired permanently.


Daly was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2009 and died on May 9, 2009, at the age of 78. He is survived by his wife Terry and their daughter Cydney. He is buried at Riverside Memorial Park in Tequesta, Florida.[10]

Head coaching record[edit]


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


Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win-loss %
Post season PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win-loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
CLE 1981–82 41 9 32 .220 (fired)
DET 1983–84 82 49 33 .598 2nd in Central 5 2 3 .400 Lost in First Round
DET 1984–85 82 46 36 .561 2nd in Central 9 5 4 .566 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
DET 1985–86 82 46 36 .561 3rd in Central 4 1 3 .250 Lost in First Round
DET 1986–87 82 52 30 .634 2nd in Central 15 10 5 .667 Lost in Conf. Finals
DET 1987–88 82 54 28 .659 1st in Central 23 14 9 .609 Lost in NBA Finals
DET 1988–89 82 63 19 .768 1st in Central 17 15 2 .882 Won NBA Championship
DET 1989–90 82 59 23 .720 1st in Central 20 15 5 .750 Won NBA Championship
DET 1990–91 82 50 32 .610 2nd in Central 15 7 8 .467 Lost in Conf. Finals
DET 1991–92 82 48 34 .585 3rd in Central 5 2 3 .400 Lost in First Round
NJN 1992–93 82 43 39 .524 3rd in Atlantic 5 2 3 .400 Lost in First Round
NJN 1993–94 82 45 37 .549 3rd in Atlantic 4 1 3 .250 Lost in First Round
ORL 1997–98 82 41 41 .500 5th in Atlantic Missed Playoffs
ORL 1998–99 50 33 17 .660 1st in Atlantic 4 1 3 .250 Lost in First Round
Career 1075 638 437 .593 126 75 51 .595