Villanova basketball legend Rollie Massimino dies at 82

Massimino had been battling lung cancer.
Former Villanova basketball coach Rollie Massimino died on Wednesday after a battle with lung cancer. (Photo: Getty Images)

Legendary Villanova men’s basketball coach Rollie Massimino has died at 82 years old after a battle with lung cancer.

Spending 19 years at Villanova from 1973-1992, Massimino guided Villanova to an improbable national championship in 1985, guiding the No. 8 seed Wildcats to shocking wins over North Carolina and Georgetown.

It was the first time the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams.

The Hillside, NJ native was 355-241 during his tenure at the Philadelphia school and was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

Massimino’s first job at the collegiate level was a head-coaching position Stony Brook University on Long Island from 1969-1971.

In its first season under Massimino, Stony Brook went 19-6 and appeared in the NCAA small college tournament. He would spend one season at Penn as an assistant before joining Villanova.

Following his memorable stint in Philadelphia, Massimino later coached at UNLV, Cleveland State and most recently, Keiser University of the NAIA since 2006.

He remained coach despite being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011 and held the position until the spring of 2017.

But he always kept Villanova close, as he was on hand to see the school win its second-ever national title in 2016.

Massimino was placed in hospice care earlier this week. 

 
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