Massimino in Philadelphia on March 21, 2009
November 13, 1934|
Hillside, New Jersey
|Died||August 30, 2017
West Palm Beach, Florida
|1953–1956||University of Vermont|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1956–1959||Cranford HS (assistant)|
|2006–2017||Northwood (FL) / Keiser|
|Head coaching record|
160–61 (high school)
|Tournaments||0–2 (NCAA College Division)
21–10 (NCAA Division I)
11–7 (NAIA Division II)
|Accomplishments and honors|
|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× Sun Conference regular season (2007–2009, 2011–2013)
3× Sun Conference Tournament (2010, 2012, 2014)
|College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2013
Roland Vincent Massimino (November 13, 1934 – August 30, 2017) was an American basketball coach. He 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), Cleveland State University (1996–2003), and at Northwood University's Florida campus, which was sold in 2014 to Keiser University (2006–2017). At Villanova, he led his 1984–85 team to the NCAA championship. Entering the 1985 NCAA Tournament as an eighth seed, Villanova defeated their heavily favored Big East Conference foe, the Georgetown Hoyas, in the title game. The upset is widely regarded as one of the greatest in NCAA history.
Roland Massimino graduated from Hillside High School in Hillside, New Jersey, in 1952. He held 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.
After graduating from the University of Vermont, where he played varsity basketball for three years, Massimino entered the coaching ranks in 1956 where he coached varsity baseball and freshman and JV basketball at Cranford High School in Cranford, New Jersey. In 1959, he began a four-year tenure as head varsity basketball coach at Hillside High School in Hillside, New Jersey, the town in which he had grown up. In his second year as head basketball coach at Hillside, he led his team to the finals of the State Group III Championship. They lost a tightly-contested final game to Burlington High School from Burlington, New Jersey. The Hillside team was led by Frank Checorski, a unanimous Top-Five All-State Selection throughout The Garden State.
In 1963, with the support of high school All-American Bill Schutsky—who later captained the Army Cadets basketball team—Massimino led the Comets to the state Group IV finals. 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.
For the 1963–64 season, Massimino moved to Lexington High School in Massachusetts. In 1965, he led the Lexington squad to a state championship and later led another to a 20–1 record. 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.
In ten seasons as a high school coach, Massimino compiled a 160–61 record.
Massimino's collegiate debut came in 1969 as head coach of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. In his first season the Patriots (now Seawolves) won the conference championship after going 19–6, earning a berth in the NCAA small college tournament. Massimino's next stop was as an assistant coach under Chuck Daly at the University of Pennsylvania.
Massimino left Penn in March 1973, succeeding Jack Kraft as head coach of Villanova and leading the 1984-85 Wildcats team to one of the greatest upsets in NCAA tournament history by knocking off top-seeded Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.) in the 1985 NCAA Tournament Championship Game. The road to the finals proved an even greater challenge, kicking off with a win on #9-seed Dayton's home court, followed by victories over #1-seed Michigan, #4-seed Maryland, #2-seed North Carolina, before culminating in a Final Four victory over #2-seeded Memphis State.
Massimino left Villanova in 1992 to assume the head coaching job at UNLV. The initial hope was that he could restore the success and credibility of the UNLV program after the basketball team's 1991–92 probation and the forced resignation of long-time coach Jerry Tarkanian. Two years later, Massimino was himself 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 being reported to the state of Nevada and the state commission ruled that this had violated both state ethics laws, as well as UNLV rules.
Moving on to Cleveland State University in 1996, Massimino's teams recorded a 90–113 record in his seven seasons as coach. Massimino's contract was bought out following a series of off-court issues. These included several players with drug and alcohol problems, other players arrested for serious crimes, and allegations of academic fraud.
Massimino was the head coach of the men's basketball team at Keiser University in West Palm Beach, Florida, members in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Massimino continued his role as coach when Northwood University sold its Florida campus to Keiser University. The 2005-06 Northwood team coached by Massimino was its inaugural season 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 a place in the national semifinals in 2011 and a national runner-up finish in 2012. Through the end of the 2013-14 season, Massimino's overall record at Northwood stands at 227–48 (.825 winning percentage).
On November 1, 2012, Massimino returned to Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky for the first time since his 1985 championship triumph, playing a preseason exhibition game against reigning NCAA Division I champions Kentucky. The game was played at the request of Massimino after indicating to Kentucky head coach John Calipari that the 2012–13 season could be his last in coaching. 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." Kentucky introduced Massimino with a video montage of the final minutes of Villanova's 1985 victory.
On December 14, 2016, Massimino at 82 years old, reached coaching win number 800 when Keiser University defeated Trinity Baptist 77-47.
Head coaching record
|Stony Brook Patriots (Knickerbocker Conference) (1969–1971)|
|1969–70||Stony Brook||19–4||8–0||1st||NCAA College Division First Round|
|Stony Brook:||34–14 (.708)||15–2 (.882)|
|Villanova Wildcats (NCAA Division I independent) (1973–1976)|
|Villanova Wildcats (Eastern Collegiate Basketball League / Eastern Athletic Association) (1976–1980)|
|1976–77||Villanova||23–10||6–1||2nd (East)||NIT Third Place|
|1977–78||Villanova||23–9||7–3||T–1st (East)||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1979–80||Villanova||23–8||7–3||T–1st (East)||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||22–8||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|
|1985–86||Villanova||23–14||10–6||4th||NCAA Second Round|
|1987–88||Villanova||24–13||9–7||T–3rd||NCAA Elite Eight|
|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|
|Villanova:||355–241 (.596)||139–88 (.612)|
|UNLV Rebels (Big West Conference) (1992–1994)|
|1992–93||UNLV||21–8||13–5||2nd||NIT First Round|
|UNLV:||36–21 (.632)||23–13 (.639)|
|Cleveland State Vikings (Midwestern Collegiate Conference / Horizon League) (1996–2003)|
|Cleveland State:||90–113 (.443)||51–67 (.432)|
|Northwood/Keiser Seahawks (Florida Sun Conference / Sun Conference) (2006–2017)|
|2006–07||Northwood||23–9||9–3||1st||NAIA D-II First Round|
|2007–08||Northwood||27–8||12–2||1st||NAIA D-II Quarterfinal|
|2008–09||Northwood||27–6||11–3||1st||NAIA D-II Second Round|
|2009–10||Northwood||27–7||12–4||2nd||NAIA D-II First Round|
|2010–11||Northwood||33–4||16–0||1st||NAIA D-II Semifinal|
|2011–12||Northwood||34–4||14–2||T–1st||NAIA D-II Runners-Up|
|2012–13||Northwood||30–4||14–2||1st||NAIA D-II First Round|
|2013–14||Northwood||26–7||14–4||T–2nd||NAIA D-II First Round|
|2015–16||Keiser||30–5||14–2||1st||NAIA D-II Quarterfinal|
|Northwood/Keiser:||298–75 (.799)||135–37 (.785)|
National champion Postseason invitational champion
- Carey, Jack (March 15, 2010). "Efficient '85 Villanova team mounted tourney's greatest upset". USA Today. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
- The Ariel. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont. 1954. pp. 200–201.
- "Keiser University Bio". Retrieved April 5, 2016.
- "The New Jersey Nets are expected to announce Rollie.." 19 June 1985. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
- Tipton, Jerry (October 31, 2012). "UK notes: Massimino revisits site of "historic moment"". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- Associated Press (November 1, 2012). "Kentucky Rolls Past Northwood in Exhibition". University of Kentucky Athletics. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- Staff (2017-08-30). "Keiser University men's basketball coach Rollie Massimino dies at age 82". wptv.com. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
- Jeff Goodman (2017-08-30). "Coaching legend Rollie Massimino dies at 82". espn.com. Retrieved 2017-08-30.