VILLANOVA, Pa. (CBS) — The year was 1978. Harry Perretta was fresh out of college when he beat out 65 applicants to become the head coach of Villanova’s Women’s Basketball team.
He’s been their man, until now.
After 42 years, Perretta coached his final game at Villanova, tying the record for most seasons as head coach at a single school in NCAA women’s basketball.
“It went so fast, it’s unbelievable. I don’t think you can put it into words. This is like my home, you know?” Perretta said. “You feel like it’s your family and you just never want to leave.”
Perretta is one of the most respected and knowledgeable coaches in the country. He is also extremely modest.
“It just makes me realize, hey, I’ve been doing this a really, really long time. It just reinforces how many people you met, how many places you went,” he said.
Perretta is the all-time winningest coach in the history of Villanova basketball, for both men and women.
He guided the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament 11 times, three Big East Tournament titles and 17 Big 5 crowns. He’s a true teacher both on and off the court.
“He knows his X’s and O’s, he’s 10 plays ahead of everyone,” Villanova guard Mackenzie Gardler said. “He’s just unique in everything he does. He’s just a different person and that’s what we all love about him.”
After 42 years, Perretta has coached generations of players.
“My mom played for him back in ’84 to ’88 and they really remained close friends,” forward Mary Gedaka said. “So we’ve always been connected, so when he started to recruit me, I always knew I wanted to come here. It’s always felt like a family.”
While he won’t be back as head coach, Perretta will remain at Villanova as a special assistant to the athletic director. His legacy and legend will last forever.