PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A legendary local college basketball coach has died.
Roland Vincent “Rollie” Massimino passed away Wednesday at the age of 82. Keiser University said in a statement that Massimino died from “health-related matters.”
Massimino is most famous for coaching the Villanova Wildcats to a National Championship in 1985, knocking off of Georgetown in one of college basketball’s greatest upsets ever.
“The Nova Nation has lost a legend and great leader,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said in a statement. “Coach’s love of family, community, and teamwork were evident in every game his teams ever played. All of us, as coaches and players, idolized Coach Mass. He inspired and impacted all of our lives. He never stopped being a cherished mentor and friend.
“It’s terrible to see such a big Villanova icon go,” said one student on Wednesday evening.
“With memories of 1985 and the championship he was able to bring here I think his legacy is still felt across the campus,” another Villanova student said.
Massimino was the head coach at Villanova from 1973 to 1992. After joining the Big East in 1980, Massimino lead Nova to the NCAA Tournament in nine of the next 12 seasons.
He later became the head coach of UNLV from 1992 to 1994. Massimino coached for Cleveland State from 1996 to 2003 and coached Keiser University from 2006 to 2016 before retiring.
“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. 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 University said in a statement.
Massimino was born in Hillside, New Jersey, and graduated from Hillside High School. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree from Rutgers.
Massimino is survived by his wife, their five children and 17 grandchildren.