By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Career coaching win No. 1,043 didn’t come easy for Division II Philadelphia University head coach Herb Magee. His Rams had to overcome injury and foul trouble at the Gallagher Center on Thursday night before holding off a tough Holy Family team, 81-77.

“We had to improvise,” Magee told KYW Newsradio after the game. “We had three freshmen on the floor most of the game, or a lot of the game. Somebody has to step up, that’s all there is to it. You don’t have time to cry. Somebody’s got to make a play.”

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Listen to the entire interview with Philadelphia University’s Herb Magee:

 

Magee’s 50th season as the head coach at his alma mater looks a lot like the first 49 in that his team wins a lot of games. Magee is the winningest coach in Division II history and he is second in victories across all NCAA divisions (behind only Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski). The win over Holy Family improved the Rams to 11-6 this season and they are alone in first place in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference’s South Division with a 7-2 league mark. But Magee feels like they’ve let a couple get away so far this season.

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“I thought we were better to be honest with you,” he says. “Eleven wins is pretty good, but we’ve got some losses that really could’ve gone our way. Nobody has handled us. Our losses are by a couple points here and there. It all depends on how we make plays at the end of games.”

A member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Magee graduated from Philadelphia University (then Philadelphia Textile) in 1963. He first served as an assistant coach for the Rams before taking over the program in 1967. Staying in one place this long is incredibly rare and Magee says he wouldn’t do anything differently.

“The one thing I never have done is ever second-guess myself,” Magee says. “No matter what I’ve done in my private life, in my coaching life. Anything I do I just do. And it comes to me what I should do and I just do it.”

With so much already accomplished in an incredible career has he thought about retirement?

“I give it some thought once in awhile,” said the 75-year-old coach. “Only because everybody reminds me every day that I’ve been coaching for 50 years. I don’t know how many of coaches have ever done it, maybe a handful, if that many. I do give it some thought. But as long as I’m enjoying (it), I do enjoy the kids, they are really good kids and I have great assistant coaches. (Associate head coach) Jimmy Reilly is one of the best assistant coaches I’ve ever had. My hope is that when I do leave, he’ll take my job. The team will be in good hands.”

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Philadelphia University returns to action Saturday at Nyack.