Former Villanova Men's Basketball Coach Rollie Massimino Dies At 82
HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 04: Former Villanova Wildcats head coach Rollie Massimino reacts during the 2016 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game between the Villanova Wildcats and the North Carolina Tar Heels at NRG Stadium on April 4, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Legendary head coach Rollie Massimino, who coached Villanova’s men’s basketball team for 19 years in the Big East, has passed away.

Former Villanova men’s basketball coach Rollie Massimino passed away Wednesday at the age of 82.

According to Philly.com’s Frank Fitzpatrick, Massimino had been battling lung cancer for several years. He passed away at his home in Florida, surrounded by his family.

“The Nova Nation has lost a legend and great leader,” Villanova men’s basketball head coach Jay Wright said in a statement, per the team’s website. “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. “All of us in the Villanova Basketball family extend our deepest sympathies to Mrs. Mass, his wife of 59 years, his five children – Tom, Lee Ann, Michele, R.C. and Andrew – and his 17 grandchildren.”

New York Knicks legend and current head coach at Georgetown University, Patrick Ewing, issued a statement on the coach’s passing.

“Coach Massimino recruited me to Villanova in 1981 and we always bonded over our Boston ties. Even though his 1985 team beat us, I have always had nothing but great respect and admiration for him. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time,” Ewing said.

Massimino coached Villanova for 19 seasons, from 1973 to 1992. He had a 355-241 record at Villanova, won four conference titles and won the 1985 NCAA Championship by scoring one of the great upsets of all-time, besting No. 1 Georgetown as a No. 8 seed.

After leaving Villanova, Massimino coached at UNLV for two seasons, Cleveland State for seven seasons and, since 2006, led the program at NAIA Keiser University through this past season, when they went 23-9.

He is survived by his wife Mary Jane, five children, and 13 grandchildren. Everyone at ESNY extends their heartfelt condolences to Coach Massimino’s friends and family.


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I graduated from Marist College with a Bachelors in Sports Communications in 2011. I am a huge sports fan. I also write articles for TheCelebrityCafe.com.