The Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports and Entertainment mourn the passing of Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Daly. The 78-year-old, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February, passed away this morning in Jupiter, Florida on May 9 with his family by his side. Funeral arrangements are pending, but services will take place next week in Jupiter/Tequesta, Florida.
“The Daly family and the entire Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports and Entertainment family is mourning the loss of Chuck Daly,” family spokesman and Pistons Vice President of Public Relations Matt Dobek said. “Chuck left a lasting impression with everyone he met both personally and professionally and his spirit will live with all of us forever.”
Daly, who coached the Detroit Pistons to NBA Championships in 1989 and 1990, was dubbed by his Pistons’ players as “Daddy Rich,” for his dapper wardrobe. Daly also served as head coach of the Dream Team, the 1992 Gold-Medal winning USA Basketball Olympic Team, which has been acknowledged by many as the greatest basketball team ever assembled. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1994 and the number 2 (for those 2 NBA Championships) was retired in his honor by the Detroit Pistons in 1997.
The Kane, Pennsylvania native coached the Pistons for nine seasons and is the winningest coach in franchise history with a record of 467-271 (.633). He also coached Detroit to a franchise record 71 playoff wins during his tenure (71-42, .628). Named head coach on May 17, 1983, Daly finished his first year with a 49-33 mark and a postseason appearance. The Pistons reached the NBA Playoffs in each of his nine seasons, advancing to the Conference Finals five times with two Eastern Conference Championships (1989, 1990).
In 1990, the Pistons set the top two winning streaks in franchise history. During the months of January, February and March, the club won 13 games and then 12 in a row with only one loss in between. The 25-1 streak was the third-best streak in the history of the NBA during that time.
In addition to his Pistons coaching career, Daly also made NBA head coaching stops with the Cleveland Cavaliers, New Jersey Nets and Orlando Magic.
His 30-plus years of coaching success at all levels carried over into his Pistons position. Prior to joining Detroit, Daly spent four-plus seasons as an assistant to Billy Cunningham and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers went 236-104 in the regular-season during those four-plus years, winning two division titles and finishing second twice.
In his six seasons (1971-77) as the head coach of the University of Pennsylvania, he compiled a 125-38 (.744) record and won four Ivy League titles. Daly led Penn to more NCAA berths and Big Five titles than any previous head coach in school history. He was the head coach at Boston College for two seasons (1969-71) and served as an assistant coach at Duke University for seven years (1963-69).
A graduate of Bloomsburg University, after starting his collegiate career at St. Bonaventure, Daly earned a Master’s Degree at Penn State and began his coaching career at Punxsutawney High School.
Daly is survived by his wife, Terry, his daughter, Cydney, and grandchildren Sebrina and Connor.