Rollie Massimino

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Rollie Massimino
Rollie Massimino - 2009 03 21 in Philadelphia.jpg
Massimino in Philadelphia on March 21, 2009
Sport(s) Basketball
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Northwood (FL)
Record 227–48
Biographical details
Born (1934-11-13) November 13, 1934 (age 80)
Hillside, New Jersey
Playing career
1953–1956 Vermont
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Cranford HS (NJ) (assistant)
Hillside HS (NJ)
Lexington HS (MA)
Stony Brook
Penn (assistant)
Cleveland State
Northwood (FL)
Head coaching record
Overall 743–439 (college)
Tournaments 0–2 (NCAA College Division)
21–10 (NCAA Division I)
4–5 (NIT)
11–7 (NAIA Division II)
9–2 (EBCL / Eastern 8)
13–12 (Big East)
2–2 (Big West)
3–7 (MCC/Horizon)
13–5 (TSC)
Accomplishments and honors
1 NCAA Division I (1985)
3 Eastern 8 regular season (1978–1980)
2 Eastern 8 Tournament (1978, 1980)
2 Big East regular season (1982–1983)
6 TSC regular season (2007–2009, 2011– 2013)
3 TSC Tournament (2010, 2012, 2014)
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2013

Roland V. "Rollie" Massimino (born November 13, 1934) is an American basketball coach and former player. He is currently the head men's basketball coach at the Florida campus of Northwood University in West Palm Beach, a position he has held since 2006. Massimino previously served as the head men's basketball coach at Stony Brook University (1969–1971), Villanova University (1973–1992), the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (1992–1994), and Cleveland State University (1996–2003). At Villanova, he led his 1984–85 team to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. Entering the 1985 NCAA Tournament as an eight seed, Villanova defeated their heavily favored Big East Conference foe, the Georgetown Hoyas, in the National Championship Game. The upset is widely regarded as one of the greatest in North American sports history.[1]


Massimino has a master's degree equivalent in health and physical education from Rutgers University (1959) and a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Vermont (1956). While a student at UVM, he became a member of the Alpha-Lambda Chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.[2]

Coaching career[edit]

High school[edit]

After graduating from the University of Vermont, where he played varsity basketball for three years, Massimino entered the coaching ranks in 1956.[citation needed] In 1959, he began a three-year tenure as an assistant coach at Cranford High School in Cranford, New Jersey; this was Massimino's high school alma mater.

Massimino took his first head coach position in 1962 at Hillside High School in New Jersey. With the support of high school All-American Bill Shutsky and others (Shutsky later captained the West Point basketball team), Massimino led the Comets to the state Group IV finals in 1963 and 1964. In both seasons, Hillside was defeated in the final playoff game by Newark's Central High School. The Comets lost during both years to a team composed of taller players, despite pushing the thrilling 1963 championship game into double-overtime.[citation needed]

From there, Massimino moved to Lexington High School in Massachusetts. In 1965, he led the Lexington squad to a state championship and later[when?] led another to a 20–1 record.[citation needed][vague] Along the way, Massimino was laying the foundation for an elite scholastic program which later dominated the Middlesex League, winning state titles in 1971, 1972, and 1978 along with league championships in 16 of the past 30 years.[citation needed]

In ten seasons as a high school coach, Massimino compiled a 160–61 record.[citation needed]


He debuted at the collegiate coaching level in 1969 as the head coach of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His first team had a record of 19–6, won the conference championship, and earned a berth in the NCAA small college tournament.[citation needed] Massimino's next step was the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as an assistant coach under Chuck Daly.[citation needed]

In March 1973, Massimino left Penn to succeed John Kraft as the head coach at Villanova. During the 1984–85 season, Massimino's team pulled off one of the greatest upsets in college basketball history by knocking off top-seeded Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.) by a score of 66–64 in the 1985 NCAA Tournament Championship Game. The road to the finals was even harder, starting with a win on the home court of #9-seed Dayton, then with victories over #1-seed Michigan, #4-seed Maryland, #2-seed North Carolina and a Final Four victory over #2-seeded Memphis State. After the championship season, Massimino rejected an offer to coach the New Jersey Nets, claiming that he wanted more time to devote to his personal life.

In 1992, he resigned from Villanova to take the head coaching job at UNLV. Initially, the hope had been that he would restore the success and credibility of UNLV after the basketball team's 1991–92 probation and the forced resignation of long-time coach Jerry Tarkanian. Two years later, Massimino was forced out when it was revealed that he and UNLV president Robert Maxson had cut a side deal to lift Massimino's salary above the figure that had been reported to the state of Nevada. A state commission decided that this had violated state ethics laws, as well as UNLV rules.

In 1996, he coached at Cleveland State University. Under Coach Massimino for seven seasons, the Cleveland State basketball squad tallied a 90–113 record. Massimino's contract was bought out following a series of off-court issues.[vague][citation needed]. These included several players with drug and alcohol problems, other players arrested for serious crimes, and allegations of academic fraud. See,

Massimino is currently the head coach for the men's basketball team at Northwood University in West Palm Beach, Florida, which participates in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The 2006–07 Northwood team that Massimino coached was the first in which it competed in The Sun Conference. In his first four seasons with the Seahawks, Massimino led Northwood to four FSC regular season titles, four appearances in the NAIA National tournament, and the Seahawks reached the Elite Eight in 2008. Massimino and the Seahawks have received bids to the NAIA tournament in all of his eight seasons at Northwood, with the team's best finishes being a place in the national semifinals in 2011 and a national runner-up finish in 2012. Massimino's overall record at Northwood stands at 227–48 (.825 winning percentage) after the 2013–14 season.

On November 1, 2012, Massimino returned to Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, the site of his 1985 championship triumph, for the first time since that game. His Northwood team was playing a preseason exhibition against reigning NCAA Division I champions Kentucky. Massimino had requested the game from Kentucky head coach John Calipari, telling Calipari that the 2012–13 season could be his last as a coach. In a later interview, Massimino hedged somewhat, saying, "I don't know if it's my last [season]. I hope I can go another year or so."[3] Kentucky introduced Massimino with a video montage of the final minutes of Villanova's 1985 victory.[4]


Massimino and his wife, Mary Jane, have five children—Tom, Lee Ann, Michele, Roland (R. C.), and Andrew—as well as 17 grandchildren—Roland, Stephen, Tommy, Michael, Kayla, John, Kristin, Leo, Matthew, Grace, Megan, Nicholas, Jessica, Nicole, Roland Michael, Melissa, and Rocco.

Head coaching record[edit]


Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Stony Brook Patriots (Knickerbocker Conference) (1969–1971)
1969–70 Stony Brook 18–6 8–0 NCAA College Division Regional Fourth Place
1970–71 Stony Brook 15–10 7–2
Stony Brook: 33–16 15–2
Villanova Wildcats (NCAA Division I Independent) (1973–1976)
1973–74 Villanova 7–19
1974–75 Villanova 9–18
1975–76 Villanova 16–11
Villanova Wildcats (Eastern Collegiate Basketball League/Eastern 8) (1976–1980)
1976–77 Villanova 23–10 6–1 2nd (East) NIT Third Place
1977–78 Villanova 23–9 7–3 T–1st NCAA Elite Eight
1978–79 Villanova 15–13 9–1 1st
1979–80 Villanova 23–8 7–3 T–1st NCAA Second Round
Villanova Wildcats (Big East Conference) (1980–1992)
1980–81 Villanova 20–11 8–6 T–3rd NCAA Second Round
1981–82 Villanova 24–8 11–3 1st NCAA Elite Eight
1982–83 Villanova 24–8 12–4 T–1st NCAA Elite Eight
1983–84 Villanova 19–12 12–4 T–2nd NCAA Second Round
1984–85 Villanova 25–10 9–7 T–3rd NCAA Champion
1985–86 Villanova 23–14 10–6 4th NCAA Second Round
1986–87 Villanova 15–16 6–10 6th NIT First Round
1987–88 Villanova 24–13 9–7 T–3rd NCAA Eilte Eight
1988–89 Villanova 18–16 7–9 T–5th NIT Third Round
1989–90 Villanova 18–15 8–8 T–5th NCAA First Round
1990–91 Villanova 17–15 7–9 T–7th NCAA Second Round
1991–92 Villanova 14–15 11–7 4th NIT First Round
Vilanova: 357–241 139–88
UNLV Runnin' Rebels (Big West Conference) (1992–1994)
1992–93 UNLV 21–8 13–5 2nd NIT First Round
1993–94 UNLV 15–13 10–8 T–5th
UNLV: 36–21 23–13
Cleveland State Vikings (Midwestern Collegiate Conference/Horizon League) (1996–2003)
1996–97 Cleveland State 9–19 6–10 T–6th
1997–98 Cleveland State 12–15 6–8 T–5th
1998–99 Cleveland State 14–14 6–8 5th
1999–00 Cleveland State 16–14 9–5 2nd
2000–01 Cleveland State 19–13 9–5 3rd
2001–02 Cleveland State 12–16 6–10 7th
2002–03 Cleveland State 8–22 3–13 9th
Cleveland State: 90–113 45–59
Northwood Seahawks (The Sun Conference) (2006–present)
2006–07 Northwood 23–9 9–3 1st NAIA Division II First Round
2007–08 Northwood 27–8 12–2 1st NAIA Division II Quarterfinal
2008–09 Northwood 27–6 11–3 1st NAIA Division II Second Round
2009–10 Northwood 27–6 12–4 2nd NAIA Division II First Round
2010–11 Northwood 33–4 16–0 1st NAIA Division II Semifinal
2011–12 Northwood 34–4 14–2 1st NAIA Division II Runner-up
2012–13 Northwood 30–4 14–2 1st NAIA Division II First Round
2013–14 Northwood 26–7 14–4 T–2nd NAIA Division II First Round
Northwood: 227–48 102–20
Total: 743–439

      National champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carey, Jack (March 15, 2010). "Efficient '85 Villanova team mounted tourney's greatest upset". USA Today. Retrieved October 16, 2011. 
  2. ^ The Ariel. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont. 1954. pp. 200–201. 
  3. ^ Tipton, Jerry (October 31, 2012). "UK notes: Massimino revisits site of "historic moment"". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  4. ^ Associated Press (November 1, 2012). "Kentucky Rolls Past Northwood in Exhibition". University of Kentucky Athletics. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 

External links[edit]