At five-foot-ten and 150 pounds, the odds are stacked against Herb Magee on the basketball court. But as an orphan since the age of 13, the odds have been stacked against him most of his life. Yet the West Philly-born basketball maven persevered, becoming a legend both on and off the court in the process.
On Saturday, Nov. 21, Philadelphia University will honor that legend. The school will celebrate the start of Herb’s 50th season, both as a player and a coach, with the Philadelphia University Rams.
His basketball career began on the playground before going on to West Catholic High School, playing alongside former 76ers coach Jim Lynam and former St. Joseph's basketball coach Jim Boyle.
He went on to play for the Rams in college where he was a two-time All American. During his tenure at then Philadelphia College of Textile and Science, he scored 2,235 points, which is the third all time highest in the team’s history, as well as averaging 29.1 points per game in the ‘61-‘62 season -- a school record that still holds today.
He was then drafted by the Boston Celtics, but turned it down for a college-coaching career with the Rams. And what an incredible career it has been.
In only his third year as head coach, Magee led the Rams to an NCAA National Championship in 1970. He has taken his team to the Big Dance 24 times during his career.
On Feb. 1, 2007 he became the number one all-time Division II men’s basketball coach in NCAA history when he won his 829th game against Wilmington College. To date, he has 882 career wins, third all time in the NCAA and just behind legendary coach Bobby Knight. The past year Magee led his Rams to the CACC Championship.
In partnership with NBC Sports Philadelphia
In addition to coaching, Magee is a well-renowned shooting expert, helping various NBA players throughout the years with their shooting form, including NBA legend Charles Barkley and currently Jameer Nelson of the Orlando Magic.
Magee also frequently speaks at camps and clinics, having released a video called “Nothing But Net” in 2001.
The celebration will take place at 1:30 p.m. before the Rams’ first home game of the season. Despite the incredible honor, Magee’s legendary career is far from over. For a man that has excelled throughout his life, the best is always yet to come.