For­mer Vil­lanova coach dies at 82

Mas­simino led team to ’85 hoops crown


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Rol­lie Mas­simino, who led Vil­lanova’s sto­ried run to the 1985 NCAA bas­ket­ball cham­pi­onship and won more than 800 games in his coach­ing ca­reer, died Wed­nes­day after a long bat­tle with can­cer. He was 82.

Mas­simino’s death was an­nounced by Keiser Univer­sity, where he was still the men’s bas­ket­ball coach. He spent the fi­nal days of his life in hos­pice care.

Best known for that ti­tle at Vil­lanova, Mas­simino also coached at Stony Brook, UNLV and Cleve­land State. He spent the last 11 years of his life at Keiser, where he started the pro­gram and turned it into an NAIA power.

“We are so truly hon­ored to have shared this time with him and take some de­gree of com­fort in know­ing the pos­i­tive im­pact he has had on col­lege stu­dents for the last four decades re­mains

im­mea­sur­able,” Keiser Chan­cel­lor Arthur Keiser said.

Mas­simino faced nu­mer­ous health issues in re­cent years yet never stopped coach­ing. And even though he left Vil­lanova 25 years ago, he was still con­sid­ered fam­ily by the Wild­cats and coach Jay Wright.

“When you’re a young coach and you grow up in Philly, Rol­lie Mas­simino is a leg­end to you,” Wright said.

Roland Vin­cent Mas­simino was born Nov. 13, 1934, in New Jersey, played his col­lege bas­ket­ball at Ver­mont and got his mas­ter’s de­gree from Rut­gers. His first head coach­ing job was at his alma mater, Hill­side High School, in 1962. His col­lege coach­ing ca­reer started at Stony Brook in 1969, and after two sea­sons he be­came an as­sis­tant at Penn — un­der Chuck Daly.

The pin­na­cle of Mas­simino’s ca­reer came when his Wild­cats up­set the Hoyas for the na­tional crown.

“This is the great­est thing to ever hap­pen to me,” Mas­simino said that night.

Mas­simino took Keiser to the NAIA na­tional tour­na­ment nine times in his 11 sea­sons.

He was coach­ing un­til the end, stomp­ing on the side­line when an­gry with ref­er­ees, do­ing the same pregame rit­u­als last season as he did 30 years ago.

Mas­simino is sur­vived by his wife and five chil­dren.

Rol­lie Mas­simino

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