Solidly in the category of “things you wished you knew earlier,” my browsing through youtube.com videos landed a fascinating clip of Chuck Daly’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame way back in 1994.
Daly’s acceptance speech of less than eight minutes — they make more of a big deal of this event today — contained something that stunned me:
I received this card this card that I’d like to read for you. It’s not that long, but I think it’s significant to me.
It says, Chuck, not dear Chuck. This is a professional acquaintance, a kind of a friend, but someone I coached against when I was in Pennsylvania.
It reads, Chuck, congratulations on your selection to the Hall of Fame. I’ve always wanted to tell you how you did for me and the game of basketball in our area while you were hear. I know there was more pride for the game in our area when you left than when you started in Punxsutawney. I wanted to thank you for helping me realize the joy, self-satisfaction and reward that can come with coaching this great game.
You demonstrated that it was worth doing. It worth doing right. Had you not gotten me starting reading magazines and books, going to clinics, working in camps and especially what I learned in those mini-clinics over hamburgers and coffee at Carlino’s. I do not think I could have enjoyed what I have been doing for the last 36 years — he just retired last year. You also impressed upon me that it was OK to love coaching a game and that I should not only respect the people in the game, but the game itself. I hope I’ve done nothing to hurt it.
I believe in what this card says and if anyone deserves this honor, you do, not for the obvious reasons of won and lost records and championships, but for everything else you did for the game.
That was the best thing that could be said to me by a guy by the name of Larry McManigle, who retired after 36 years of coaching last year.
I thought the key statements were pride and respect for the game, the joy and self-satisfaction and rewards of coaching. Respect the people in the game and that’s what we do who don’t have the talent to be performers. We have to manage and become lifers.
Larry McManigle indeed retired in 1993 after 36 years teaching and coaching at Brookville. His 22 seasons coaching varsity basketball over two stints yielded 263 wins.
I did know of his long relationship with the Kane native Daly that started back in the late 1950s and early 1960s when he started his coaching career at Punxsutawney as the Chucks head coach. That relationship continued through Daly’s years with the Detroit Pistons where he won two NBA titles. Daly, as you know, was the head coach of the 1992 United States Olympic “Dream Team” and helped lead what most believe is the greatest team ever assembled to a gold medal.
I had the honor of being part of two ceremonies that honored teams that Coach Mac led. Back in 2008, we honored the 1988 Raiders who went 24-0 during the regular season and in 2015, we celebrated the 1965 team that won the District 9 Class A title.
Mac passed away in 2016. I would’ve loved to share that letter with those who were in attendance one or both of those nights, but I’m not sure I would’ve made it through it all.
Last week’s edition had a story of Lyle Painter and his track career that yielded a District 9 title in 1946. In 1947, Kane’s Chuck Daly shared the high jump district title, clearing 5 feet, 2 inches. In 1950, Chuck’s younger brother Bud won the mile run state title in Class B with a time of 4:36.4.
Rich Rhoades is the sports editor of the Jeffersonian Democrat and the Leader-Vindicator in New Bethlehem. E-mail: email@example.com. Follow on twitter @TheSkinny1969.