(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Friday, November 05, 2010

Rollie Massimino's Team Pulls a Big Upset . . . Again

He's 75. He's 25 years removed from one of the biggest upsets -- if not the biggest upset -- in the NCAA finals (for what it's worth, had Gordon Hayward's last-second shot gone in, a Butler defeat of Duke in the final game would have been the biggest upset in an NCAA final), when Villanova, a #8 seed, beat #1 Georgetown in the final of the 1985 NCAA tournament. It was a magical moment for the Wildcats.

Massimino dangled with taking a big contract with the New Jersey Nets, only to have, among others, good friend Billy Cunningham talk him out of it at the bar of a long-since gone Adams Hotel on Philadelphia's City Line Avenue shortly thereafter. Ultimately, after 19 years at Villanova, he went to UNLV, where it was simply impossible to replace a legend and a rogue named Jerry Tarkanian (and where he was forced out after 2 years because of having cut a side-deal with the college president for more money than was reported to the state), and then he spent seven years at Cleveland State (going 90-113), and then he retired to Florida.

Or so everyone thought.

He did retire, to Florida, found an NAIA school named Northwood University that was starting a program, and, well, they had an exhibition game against a DI school last night and beat them. You can read about it here.

Sometimes, when you're having a difficult day, a friend will tell you, "remember this, it's not the destination, it's the journey." Well, it's been a long, sometimes exhilirating, sometimes difficult journey for Coach Mass, but it seems that right now he finds this particular destination to his liking.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had Gordon Hayward's last second shot banked in, instead of off iron, last year's Butler-Duke championship would have been the greatest college basketball game ever.

It might have been even better had Butler won by 30, but that's a different point.

1:17 PM  

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