Hall of Famer Daly dies at 78
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, including Spokane’s John Stockton, 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.
“It’s a players’ league. They allow you to coach them or they don’t,” Daly once said. “Once they stop allowing you to coach, you’re on your way out.”
Daly 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. He was the first coach to win both NBA and Olympic titles.
NBA commissioner David Stern said the “void left by his death will never be filled.”
Going hard way for a big finish
It has been a tough year for the Medical Lake Cardinals team, and it looked like it was going to end on a particularly dour note when it came close to losing its season finale to host Riverside on Friday despite a no-hitter by sophomore right-hander Ryan Wagner.
Wagner had a perfect game through four innings before giving up his first two walks in the fifth. A passed ball put runners on first and third and the Rams executed a double steal. The Cardinals got the runner at second, but not before the runner on third scored to make it 1-0.
However, TJ Gover came to the rescue with a three-run homer in a four-run sixth inning. That gave Wagner a cushion when he gave up an earned run that came via the other two walks he gave up and another double steal.
Wagner finished in fine form in the 4-2 win, striking out the side in the seventh to finish with 14 strikeouts.
“It seemed like (the team) just had one bad inning every game,” assistant coach Kerry Kelly said of the Cardinals’ 5-15 season.
“He (Wagner) battled in a lot of games and did an exceptional job (Friday).”
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