Villanova Holds Funeral Mass for Legendary Basketball Coach Rollie Massimino - NBC 10 Philadelphia
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Villanova Holds Funeral Mass for Legendary Basketball Coach Rollie Massimino

Rollie Massimino will be remembered at on-campus funeral Mass starting at 10:30 a.m.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Family, friends and players said their final goodbyes Tuesday to Villanova's Rollie Massimino. He was a national champion and ambassador for college basketball. After a long battle with cancer, he passed away last month at the age of 82. NBC10's Steven Fisher was at his funeral and heard from those closest to Coach Mass.

    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017)

    Villanova University is remembering one of its storied basketball program's all-time greats.

    Funeral services were held Tuesday for Rollie Massimino, who led Villanova's storied run to the 1985 NCAA championship and won more than 800 games in his coaching career.

    Massimino Died Aug. 30 after a battle with cancer. He was 82.

    Tuesday's funeral Mass held at St. Thomas of Villanova Church on the Delaware County university's campus drew players, friends and colleagues of Massimino.

    Remembering Rollie at Villanova Mass

    [PHI] Remembering Rollie at Villanova Mass

    Family, friends and fans of legendary Villanova basketball coach Rollie Massimino gathered tuesday to say their final goodbyes. Massimino is well known for leading the Wildcats men's basketball team to the 1985 NCAA National Championship. NBC10'S Steven Fisher is live from Villanova.

    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017)

    Best known for that national title at Villanova, Massimino also coached at Stony Brook, UNLV and Cleveland State. He spent the last 11 years of his life at Keiser University, where he started the program and turned it into an NAIA power.

    "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 Chancellor Arthur Keiser said. "We are so truly honored to have shared this time with him and take some degree of comfort in knowing the positive impact he has had on college students for the last four decades remains immeasurable."

    Roland Vincent Massimino was born Nov. 13, 1934, in New Jersey, played his college basketball at Vermont and got his master's degree from Rutgers. His first head coaching job was at his alma mater, Hillside High School, in 1962. His college coaching career started at Stony Brook in 1969, and after two seasons he became an assistant at Penn — under Chuck Daly. He took over at Villanova in 1973 and remained with the Wildcats until 1992.

    Massimino faced numerous health issues in recent years yet never stopped coaching. And even though he left Villanova 25 years ago, he was still considered family by the Wildcats and coach Jay Wright.

    "If not for Rollie Massimino, I'm not even a part of this," Wright once said. "If not for the Big East, Rollie Massimino is not Rollie Massimino. I know it. He knows it. And if not for the Big East, no one knows about Villanova."

    Wright was given a championship ring from 1985, and Massimino was given a championship ring from 2016. Wright wasn't working at Villanova during the first title season; Massimino wasn't officially there for the second one. But Wright worked Massimino's camps in the mid-1980s before coming to Villanova, so that made him part of the family.

    Villanova Loses Basketball Legend

    [PHI] Villanova Loses Basketball Legend

    NBC10's Matt DeLucia gives us a report on the impact Rollie Massimino had on the Villanova community and beyond.

    (Published Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017)

    Massimino always went out of his way to take care of those he considered family. So Wright got that 1985 ring. And the only moment when Wright teared up at Villanova's 2016 ring ceremony was when he handed Massimino his piece of championship jewelry.

    "When you're a young coach and you grow up in Philly, Rollie Massimino is a legend to you," Wright said.