National Championship-Winning Villanova Coach Rollie Massimino Dead at 82

Rollie Massimino

Rollie Massimino, the fiery former Villanova University men's basketball coach who led the 1985 Wildcats team to an improbable NCAA championship over Patrick Ewing and the heavily-favored Georgetown Hoyas in the title game, died Wednesday in Florida.

Coaching was such an addiction for Massimino that he could not bring himself to retire after a failed stint replacing Jerry Tarkanian at UNLV and a forgettable seven years at Cleveland State from 1996-2003.

Massimino won more than 800 college basketball games and led Villanova to an unlikely national title in 1985 with a shocking upset of Georgetown in the championship game.

Once the news broke, former players, coaches and the universities that Massimino once coached took to the internet to express their gratitude for the coaching great. But he was still coaching.

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"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", Keiser said in a statement. He is well known for his coaching work for Villanova, as he pushed his boys to the 1985 national championship. Coming into the tournament, the Wildcats had lost seven of their final 13 games and lost to St. John's by 15 points in the second round of the Big East Tournament. The Wildcats came into the tournament as an 8 seed and were an enormous underdog against a Georgetown team that contained future National Basketball Association hall of famer, Patrick Ewing. "He was an unbelievable man - and a great person".

Massimino was the head coach at Villanova from 1973 to 1992. For his achievements in college basketball, Massimino was elected as a member of the 2013 class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Missouri. Instead, when the program started in 2006, Massimino became the coach.

Including almost 300 wins while at Northwood/Keiser, Massimino's career record is 816-462 in 41 seasons.

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