Chuck Daly Was One Of the Few Remaining Old School Coaches

Mike FeldCorrespondent IMay 9, 2009

5 Nov 1997:  Coach Chuck Daly of the Orlando Magic watches his players during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bulls won the game 94-81. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport

I'm a little young to remember the coaching career of Chuck Daly.

Growing up in a suburb of Detroit, I have limited memories of the Bad Boys, the Dream Team and the relevant basketball he helped create in the city.

But today, like many Pistons and basketball fans, I'm in mourning.

Daly was one of the last old school coaches. Thinking about his teams makes me wish I was just a bit older and could really appreciate who he was. But what I know and the memories that I do have will live on for the rest of my life.

Basketball lost a true icon Saturday; one that cannot be replaced. He didn't dominate like Red Auerbach or Phil Jackson. He didn't win everywhere he went, either. I am old enough to remember his brief stint with Orlando, which, although successful, was far short of his standards.

What I have with me about Daly is that he did things the right way. The Bad Boys were blue collar, like the city they played in. They were about grit and hustle. The Pistons scrapped out victories and were not intimidated by anyone.

Most importantly he was a player's coach, something lost in today's game. Players loved to show up to practice every day. They related to him, he related to them. Coaches would last more than three months in today's NBA if that were still prevalent.

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This is the second loss the Pistons organization has faced this year. Long time owner Bill Davidson passed away almost two months ago. But both men have banners hanging from the rafters of the Palace of Auburn Hills, making sure fans are reminded of their legacies every time they attend a Pistons game.

I had the pleasure of being in attendance when Daly's banner was raised. The team retired No. 2 in his name, in regards to the two titles he won. When sports fans are asked about some of the top moments they witnessed in person, they are always quick to name which stick out. Daly's ceremony will always carry great pride with me.

Probably my best memory of Daly is a bit of an odd one. When in the Detroit area, Daly attended the same church that I did. One time he passed me in the aisle in a pew. I was stunned to be in his presence, but there he was, trying to blend in as a normal churchgoer.

The funny thing was, he didn't blend in at all. Maybe to those that didn't know who he was, yes. But for those of us who knew who he was, there was an aura that came with being in the same room with him.

I'll never forget that moment where I felt like I was just a normal guy at church with Daly, yet someone fortunate to be in his presence.

Good-bye, Chuck. The Detroit Pistons, the game of basketball and the world of sports will not be the same without you.

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