MAS­SIMINO LOSES BAT­TLE WITH CAN­CER AT 82

USA TODAY US Edition - - SPORTS - — Kevin Spain

Rol­lie Mas­simino, who was the coach for one of the great­est up­sets in col­lege bas­ket­ball his­tory, died Wed­nes­day, ac­cord­ing to a re­lease from Keiser Univer­sity. He had been bat­tling can­cer. He was 82. For the last 11 years, Mas­simino has been the coach for Keiser, an NAIA school in West Palm Beach, Fla. But he was most fa­mous for coach­ing Villanova, which en­tered the 1985 tour­na­ment seeded eighth, to the NCAA cham­pi­onship against Ge­orge­town, the top-ranked team in the coun­try. Un­til re­cent years, Mas­simino was in rel­a­tively good health. He had surgery to re­move a tu­mor in his lung in 2011, suf­fered a col­lapsed lung and had brain surgery in 2016. But he was still coach­ing. At Keiser, he led the pro­gram — one he started in 2006 — to eight NAIA tour­na­ments with a na­tional run­ner-up and a semi­fi­nal as his two best fin­ishes. “As our cam­pus com­mu­nity deeply mourns the loss of Coach Mas­simino, we ex­tend our warmest thoughts and con­do­lences to his wife Mary Jane and the en­tire Mas­simino fam­ily,” Keiser Univer­sity Chan­cel­lor Ar

thur Keiser said in a state­ment. “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.” The 1985 Villanova cham­pi­onship, though, might be his great­est ac­com­plish­ment. Com­ing into the tour­na­ment, the Wild­cats had lost seven of their pre­vi­ous 13 games and lost to St. John’s by 15 points in the sec­ond round of the Big East tour­na­ment. They squeaked by the first two rounds, beat­ing Day­ton by two and Michi­gan by four. They then beat Mary­land, North Carolina and Mem­phis State, all seeded higher, be­fore de­feat­ing All-Amer­i­can cen­ter Pa­trick

Ewing and tour­na­ment fa­vorite Ge­orge­town in the fi­nal. Mas­simino left Villanova in 1992, spent two years at UNLV and seven more at Cleve­land State be­fore re­tir­ing to play golf in South Florida. It was there that an old friend, Rick Smo­liak, asked for ad­vice from Mas­simino on start­ing a bas­ket­ball pro­gram at North­wood Col­lege (which be­came Keiser). In­stead, when the pro­gram started in 2006, Mas­simino be­came the coach. Be­fore go­ing to Villanova in 1973, he spent two sea­sons at Stony Brook and one sea­son as an as­sis­tant coach to Chuck Daly at Penn. He had an over­all coach­ing record of 816-462 in 41 sea­sons.

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