DURHAM, N.C. – Former Duke assistant coach and NBA coaching legend Chuck Daly passed away on Saturday, May 9 in Jupiter, Fla., with his family by his side. He was 78 years old.
"Chuck was one of the great coaches and great friends of the game," said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "It was an honor to be a friend of his. He gave me a tremendous opportunity to learn from him in 1992 as a member of the Dream Team coaching staff and for that, I am eternally grateful. There was no better ambassador for the game of basketball than Chuck Daly. He was truly loved by everyone."
Daly, who coached the original Dream Team to the Olympic gold medal in 1992 after winning back-to-back NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons, was an assistant coach at Duke under Vic Bubas from 1964-69. During that stretch, the Blue Devils won 20 or more games in a season four times with two ACC Championships (1964, 1966) and two NCAA Final Four appearances (1964, 1966).
He was voted one of the 10 greatest coaches of the NBA's first half-century in 1996, two years after being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Daly was the first coach to win both an NBA title and Olympic gold.
Daly had a career regular-season record of 638-437 in 13 NBA seasons. In 12 playoff appearances, his teams went 75-51. He left Detroit as the Pistons' coaching leader in regular-season and playoff victories.
Born July 20, 1930, in St. Mary's, Pa., Charles Jerome Daly played college ball at St. Bonaventure and Bloomsburg. After two years in the military, he coached for eight seasons at Punxsutawney (Pa.) High School and then spent six years as an assistant at Duke.
Succeeding Bob Cousy as coach at Boston College, Daly coached the Eagles to a 26-24 record during two seasons, then spent seven seasons at Penn, leading the Quakers to four Ivy League championship (1972, 1973, 1974, 1975).
Daly joined the NBA coaching ranks in 1978 as an assistant under Billy Cunningham in Philadelphia. His first head coaching job was with Cleveland, but he was fired after the Cavaliers went 9-32 during the first half of the 1981-82 season.
In 1983, Daly took over a Detroit team that had never had two straight winning seasons and led the Pistons to nine straight. He persuaded the likes of Dennis Rodman, Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer to play as a unit and they responded with back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990.
After leaving Detroit, Daly took over the New Jersey Nets for two seasons and led them to the playoffs both times. He left broadcasting to return to the bench 1997 with the Orlando Magic and won 74 games in two seasons, then retired at the age of 68.
Daly is survived by his wife, Terry, as well as daughter Cydney and grandchildren Sebrina and Connor.