John Calipari vs. John Chaney turns 20

Last modified: Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Thursday marks the 20th anniversary of Temple coach John Chaney threatening to kill UMass coach John Calipari, the most legendary moment ever in the Mullins Center.

Some random musings on that day looking back:

Imagine if that happened today. Things that didn't exist in 1994 that do exist now that would have affected the coverage:

I interviewed Chaney for a piece about the ending of the UMass-Temple rivalry last year. Here's the passage about the blow up:

The rivalry got both schools plenty of television exposure in 1994.The national spotlight was never brighter than when Chaney barged into Calipari’s press conference at the Mullins Center. He started by yelling at Calipari for criticizing the officials after the game and then charged the podium yelling “I’ll kill you!” and “I’m gonna kick your ass.”Mike Williams, whose legend as a buzzer-beater includes two against Temple, blocked Chaney’s path to Calipari.“I remember Mike coming back to the locker room telling us that Cal and Chaney had just gotten into it and that he’d stepped in,” said former UMass player and current staff assistant Lou Roe. “That was the pivotal time that put the rivalry over the top.”The clash was big news everywhere. Not only did ESPN seem to run it on a loop, but the networks and cable news all showed the footage, which still lives on. ESPN seems to find a way to show it several times a year and it will certainly show up on CBS Sports Network during Saturday’s telecast. Over 100,000 people have watched it on YouTube.Media and opposing coaches (occasionally even hockey coaches) walk into the Mullins Center green room and ask so often “Is this the Calipari-Chaney room?” that UMass should consider marking the spot of the confrontation with a bronze plaque and include the room as part of campus tours.Calipari and Chaney are friends now, have done fundraisers together and even posed for pictures pretending to strangle each other. Chaney, 81, who has been retired since 2006, said people don’t want to hear about their friendship. They’d rather remember the clash.“They’d much rather laugh and pick on my ass about that because they keep showing it on television,” Chaney said. “I don’t care where I go, somebody hollers out at me ‘I’m going to kill you.’”


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