PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Villanova basketball family is mourning the death of their legendary basketball coach Rollie Massimino.
Massimino passed away Wednesday at the age of 82.
He is most famous for coaching the Villanova Wildcats to a National Championship in 1985, knocking off of Georgetown in one of the greatest upsets in college basketball history.
For current Villanova men’s head basketball coach Jay Wright, the death of his mentor is a loss he will never forget.
“Obviously, it’s a really sad day here. To the people at Villanova, ‘coach Mass’ was bigger than life. You just thought that if anybody was going to beat cancer and never die, you just thought it was going to be coach Mass,” Wright said. “He loved his players and his staff like his family. That’s what he lived for. That’s what he loved and he did it right to the end.”
Wright says over time, Massimino remained a key figure in the Villanova family.
“It’s a big void in this Villanova basketball family,” he said. “His presence was just so powerful, it impacted current players, current coaches, all his players, players that came before him, coaches before him.”
And Wright says there was no one that lived life harder than Massimino.
“[There’s] no one that got more out of life than him,” he said. “He ate everything that was in front of him, he had a lot of good cigars. He drank a lot of wine. He didn’t miss out on anything. He had a lot of friends. He lived a full life.”
Wright says the team and the university will do several things throughout their upcoming season to honor coach Mass.