Pistons, Dream Team coach Chuck Daly dies

From ESPN.

DETROIT -- The Detroit Pistons made plenty of enemies while winning titles and throwing blows two decades ago. Chuck Daly, though, was universally admired for his class and coaching acumen.

"I never understood how a great man and nice guy coached the Bad Boys," Charles Barkley said.

Daly died Saturday morning at 78 in Jupiter, Fla., with his family by his side, the Pistons said. The team announced in March he was being treated for pancreatic cancer.

The Hall of Fame coach led the Dream Team to the Olympic gold medal in 1992 after winning back-to-back NBA championships in Detroit.

Daly was renowned for his ability to create harmony out of diverse personalities at all levels of the game, whether they were Ivy Leaguers at Pennsylvania, Dream Teamers Michael Jordan and Barkley, or Pistons as dissimilar as Dennis Rodman and Joe Dumars.

NBA commissioner David Stern said the "void left by his death will never be filled."

"Chuck did much more than coach basketball games," he said in a statement. "He positively impacted everyone he met, both personally and professionally, and his love of people and the game of basketball helped develop the next generation of coaches."

Daly had a golden touch at the Barcelona Games with the likes of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Jordan, using a different lineup every game.

Daly also made the right moves for the Pistons, who were notorious for their physical play with Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn leading the fight, Rodman making headlines and Hall of Fame guards Isiah Thomas and Dumars lifting the team to titles in 1989 and 1990.

"He did an unbelievable job of taking a bunch of different personalities and molding them into a team," Mahorn said.

Far from being intimidated by the Pistons' Bad Boys image, Daly saw the upside of it.

"I've also had players who did not care," he said a decade later. "I'd rather have a challenging team."

Former Piston John Salley gave Daly the nickname Daddy Rich for his impeccably tailored suits. The National Basketball Coaches' Association created pins with the initials "CD" that many coaches and broadcasters are wearing as it dedicates this postseason to Daly. The organization also established the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be given annually.

Despite his success, Daly wasn't part of a Coach of the Year presentation until he handed the trophy to then-Detroit coach Rick Carlisle in 2002.

Daly is survived by his wife, Terry, daughter Cydney and grandchildren Sebrina and Connor.

The funeral is Wednesday in Tequesta, Fla., at St. Jude Catholic Church. Visitation is Tuesday in nearby Jupiter at Aycock Funeral Home.


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