Under no circumstances, should a coach in any level of sports ever tell one of their players to go into a game and take out another team's player.
It is wrong. It is over the line. It is reprehensible. It is an offense worthy of termination.
The fact that one of college basketball's most revered head coaches is guilty of crossing that line makes it that much worse.
Few coaches at the Division 1 level have meant more to their basketball programs over the last two decades than John Chaney has to Temple University.
Nevertheless, no coach is beyond reproach; and in this case no coach is beyond termination.
Bob Knight wasn't, Woody Hayes wasn't, and John Chaney isn't.
A coach at any level is expected to be a leader. They are expected to set an example for the players that they come in contact with, the institutions they represent, and their profession as a whole.
Those responsibilities are compounded when that coach is a leader of student-athletes.
When a coach fails to lead, or chooses to lead a player or a team over the lines of acceptable behavior – that coach must be terminated – period.
This current saga reminds me of a story related to me once by a long-time NFL sportswriter. The story involved the old New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers tight end Russ Francis.
Francis, a 13-year NFL veteran, was with the Niners at the time. He told this writer the night before a game against the Washington Redskins that his head coach, Bill Walsh, and his offensive line coach, the late Bob McKintrick, had told Francis that on the opening play of the game – he was to block Redskins' right defensive end Dexter Manley at the knees in an attempt to injure him and get him out of the game.
Now mind you, the opening play wasn't even supposed to go to Manley's side of the field. It was scripted to go to Francis' side. Nonetheless, the two coaches wanted Francis to cut across to the backside of the play and hit Manley with a cheap shot.
When the reporter asked Francis what he was going to do, Francis just replied, "watch me on the first play."
The next day, on the first play after the opening kickoff, Francis went across the formation and hit Manley . . . with a good clean block above the waist.
After the game, the reporter asked Francis what the coaches had said to him.
"They were pissed," Francis replied.
What did they say?
"They asked me, ‘why didn't you hit him like we told you to?'"
"I told them ‘I made the block didn't I?'"
Russ Francis was a man in his thirties when he defied his coaches' instructions. He was a player who had suffered plenty of major and minor injuries of his own to that point in his career. He understood that his game was tough enough to play without having to inflict cheap shots on his opponents.
The situation with John Chaney and his self-described "goon" is much different. First of all, Chaney is a very imposing man who controls the Temple program with absolute rule. As evidenced by this current situation, there are few in or around Temple University or the Atlantic 10 Conference that seem willing to question him, much less discipline him. What John Chaney says goes, end of story.
It would have taken a very mature and strong willed young man to defy Chaney's command to go out there and turn a Temple basketball game into a Johnstown Jets' hockey game.
There comes a time when a coach's accomplishments, contributions to the sport, and to the school they represent, must be put aside if that coach crosses that forbidden line. Once that line is crossed, there is no recourse short of resignation or termination.
Bob Knight and Woody Hayes remain Hall of Fame coaches with long careers full of accomplishment; both men positively impacting the lives of hundreds young men along the way.
Sadly, both of them also crossed that forbidden line and lost their jobs as a result.
Now unfortunately, so has John Chaney.