We could all take a lesson from Coach Rollie Massamino about how to spend our "golden years." At age 82, Rollie is still coaching basketball –not because he has to, but because he still has something to teach youngsters about how to play the game he loves.
According to Seth Davis' article about Rollie in Sports Illustrated, Massamino has logged 800 wins (and counting) as a college basketball coach — and that does not include those he won as a high school basketball coach in New Jersey and Massachusetts from 1962 to 1969. But if you were to ask even the most casual basketball fan (especially one from the Main Line or the City of Philadelphia) if they remember Rollie Massamino, the immediate answer would be, "Are you kidding me? He won the national championship with Villanova in 1985 when his team upset Georgetown!"
For those of us who got to know him, Rollie was first and foremost "Coach Mass." He was always available to his players and his pasta dinners, prepared by his loving wife, Mary Jane, were an added attraction enjoyed by his players and his friends. But he never forgot (and never let you forget) that basketball was what he was all about.
After coaching high school basketball teams, he went to Stoney Brook University as head coach in 1969 , then to the University of Pennsylvania for three years as an assistant to Coach Chuck Daly, and in 1973 to Villanova as head coach. He left Villanova in 1992 for UNLV for two years. Out of the game for two years, he returned in 1996 as head coach of Cleveland State. He "retired" in 2003 and devoted himself to golfing with old friends in South Florida until he was lured back to coaching by Rick Smoliak, the athletic director at Northwood University, whose West Palm Beach campus was acquired by and renamed Keiser University.
So now, after more than 54 years as a basketball coach, he's in West Palm Beach, Florida, coaching basketball again. Who could ask for more?
Beau Weisman, Editor