The Detroit Pistons announced this morning that their former coach, Chuck Daly, has died of pancreatic cancer.
There's a lot of depressing economic news coming out of Michigan. But Chuck Daly's teams were the pride of Detroit. He put tough, nervy teams on the court that defeated more glamorous players from New York, Chicago, LA and Boston.
The Detroit Pistons were champions of the world in 1989 and 1990, even as the auto industry was reeling, and population was fleeing. Two years later, Chuck Daley helped kindle some of that same kind of pride when he coached all those coddled millionaires--Jordan, Pippen, Barkley, Bird, and Magic Johnson--on the 1992 U.S. Olympic "Dream Team" to a gold medal.
He had a tough, flinty face, wore fine suits along the sidelines, and was one of the few people on earth who could make Dennis Rodman laugh — or listen. Chuck Daly was 78.