“No matter how impossible or unattainable something might seem, it will be if it is meant to be.” So, here’s the life of a legendary basketball coach, Rollie Massimino, who experienced what it takes to play as a player in his collegiate career.
Massimino was always skeptical about serving as a basketball coach, but how things have changed. He began his coaching career at Stony Brook University from player to coach.
He also coached teams like Villanova Wildcats and UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. At the moment, Massimino is considered “One of the Most Memorable Basketball Coaches in NCAA History.”
He went through many ups and downs while competing in several tournaments. However, he also earned honors, critical acclaim, and awards.
Unfortunately, Massimino, a legendary basketball coach, passed away at 82. Moreover, his contribution to the Vermont Catamounts is unforgettable.
If you would love to know more about the late basketball coach Rollie, then take a glimpse at his quick facts below.
|Full Name||Roland Vincent Massimino|
|Known as||Rollie Massimino|
|Birth Date||November 13, 1934|
|Birth Place||Hill Side, New Jersey, USA|
|Residence||West Palm Beach, Florida, USA|
|Education||Hillside High School (Class of 1952), Rutgers University – Bachelor in Education (1956), Rutgers University – Master in Health and Physical Education (1959)|
|Father’s Name||Salvatore Massimino|
|Mother’s Name||Grace Massimino|
|Died||August 30, 2017 (aged 82)|
|Death Place||West Palm Beach, Florida, USA|
|Spouse||Mary Jane Massimino|
|Children||5 – Tom, Lee An, Michele, Roland (R.C.), and Andrew Massimino|
|Beginning of Professional Career||1952|
|Sports team||Villanova Wildcats, UNLV Running’ Rebels, Cleveland State Vikings, Keiser Hawks, etc.|
|Net Worth||$5 Million (as of 2022)|
|Last Update||October, 2022|
Short Bio – Meet Rollie Massimino Family!
Rollie Massimino was the only begotten son of Mr. Salvator and Mrs. Grace Massimino. He opened his eyes for the first time on November 13, 1934, in Hillside, New Jersey.
More to that, Rollie’s full biological name is Roland Vincent Massimino, given by his beloved parents.
Similarly, the meaning of his name, “Roland,” is “From the renowned land,” derived from Germanic origin.
Massimino’s father, Salvator, was a shoemaker by profession. He immigrated to the USA from Italy in the 90’s period. Meanwhile, his mother Grace was a native American by her family roots.
Rollie committed to Mary Jane Massimino after sharing the “I dos” in 1958. They settled down in Florida following the wedding ceremony. At that time, Mr. Massimino was going through a tough time, but his wife supported him.
Proud Parents to Five Adorable Children!
The couple welcomed five children, including three sons, Tom, Roland, Andrew, and two daughters, Lee Ann and Michele.
Moreover, they got a bundle of joys after having seventeen grandchildren, including Kayla Sleece.
Most of Mr. Massimino’s children followed in their footsteps and became sportspersons. Likewise, his daughter Lee Ann served as a coach for Villanova Lacrosse in 1986. Furthermore, she became a certified physical therapist.
Similarly, Rollie’s son Tom Massimino volunteered as an assistant coach for UNLV Runnin’ Rebels during his tenure. Currently, he serves as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Harman Fitness, LLC.
Unfortunately, Rollie and Mary’s marriage ended after his demise in 2017. Moreover, she passed away at the age of 84 on July 22, 2020.
Likewise, Jay Wright, the head coach of the Villanova, delivered the death news via Twitter.
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Rollie Massimino Early Life | Education
Rollie Massimino graduated from Hillside High School in the class of 1952. Later, he earned a Bachelor in Education degree from the University of Vermont in 1959.
As a student-athlete, Massimino played for the Vermont Catamounts Men’s Basketball team for three overall years.
He also became an honorary member of the Alpha- Lambda chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity at UVM.
— Jeff Schulman (@UVMADschulman) August 31, 2017
Massimino completed his Master in Health and Physical Education degree from Rutgers University in 1959. He then moved to New Jersey to pursue a career in basketball coaching.
Rollie Massimino Basketball Coaching Career
Rollie Massimino joined the coaching ranks following his graduation. Furthermore, he became an assistant coach to the Cranford Boys Varsity Basketball team.
He further served as a varsity basketball coach at Hillside Comets boys’ basketball team in 1959.
Massimino led the Hillside Comets to the State Group III Championship finals in his second season. However, the Newark Central Blue Devils defeated his team.
He also had a competitive game versus Burlington Red Devils in the finals.
Congrats to the great Rollie Massimino on his 800th career victory! pic.twitter.com/zR2y5q6O7S
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) December 15, 2016
Rollie led the Comets to the state Group IV finals with high school All-American Bill Schutsky’s team in 1963.
However, he and his team lost the final playoff game. Moreover, the Comets lost the year despite reaching the 1963 Championship Final.
Massimino moved to Lexington High School in Massachusetts. He led his squad to a state championship, making a 20-1 record in 1965. Besides, he was laying the foundation for an elite scholastic program.
Later, Rollie won three Middlesex Basketball League titles in 1971, 1972, and 1978. In addition, he set a 160-61 record in ten seasons during his high school coaching career.
Rollie Massimino debuted as his collegiate head coach at Stony Brook University in 1969. Moreover, the Patriots won the conference championship for the first season. He also earned a berth in the NCAA small college tournament.
Massimino coached in an assistant position under Chuck Daly at the University of Pennsylvania. Later, he changed his team to the Wildcats team, with Jack Kraft as head coach again.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 30, 2017
Massimino leads his team to achieve one of the greatest upsets in NCAA tournament history. They previously knocked Georgetown Hoyas out of the 1985 NCAA Tournament Championship final.
Rollie’s team faced many challenges to reach out to the finals, kicking off with a win against Dayton’s home court.
They also competed against Michigan, Maryland, and North Carolina until the final four victories over Memphis State.
Resigned from UNLV Runnin’ Rebels Heach Coach Position
After getting all kinds of guts to be head coach, Massimino left Villanova in 1992. He then applied at UNLV with the hope to lift the team with success and credibility after UNLV 1991-92 probation.
Reportedly from Nevada state, UNLV president Robert Maxson had to cut a side deal to lift Massimino’s salary that had violated both state ethics law and UNLV rules. So, he had to resign as well forcefully.
— NY Daily News Sports (@NYDNSports) August 30, 2017
In 1996, Massimino was for Cleveland State University’s team. Furthermore, they recorded a 90-113 record for his 7th season as coach.
On the contrary, his student’s situation brought his contract to the off-court issues this time. Because players caught with alcohol and drug problems were arrested for serious crimes and academic fraud allegations.
Coaching with Villanova Wildcats and Keiser Seahawks
Rollie Massimino joined as the head coach of the Keiser Seahawks men’s basketball team. Additionally, he became a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Massimino even got a chance to coach the Florida campus that Northwood University sold to Keiser University.
Moreover, he was the one to lead Northwood to four FSC regular-season titles and appearances in the NAIA National tournament.
Later, Northwood bids all of the Massimino’s eight-season, finishing a place in the national semifinals and runner-up for the 2012 season.
Likewise, Rollie recorded standing Northwood at 227-48 to summarize the 2013/14 season.
— Jay Wright (@VUCoachJWright) December 15, 2016
Keiser might be the final stop in Massimino’s long career, but he has served the Villanova men’s team for about 19 years with a 481-375 record.
He was famous for being a fiery sideline tactician, giving inspirational speeches Drewing Italian heritage.
In conclusion, starting from a powerful Big East Conference, Villanova is considered a good team. Despite their 10 regular-season losses, they were fortunate to be selected for the N.C.A.A tournament.
Rollie Massimino | Tournaments
- 0-2 (NCAA College Division)
- 21-10 (NCAA Division I)
- 4-5 (NIT)
- 11-7 (NAIA Division II)
Awards & Achievements
- 2 Times Eastern 8 Coach of the Year (1977, 1979)
- Big East Coach of the Year (1982)
- College Basketball Hall of Fame (2013)
What is Rollie Massimino’s Cause of Death?
Rollie Massimino found out that he had terminal lung cancer and brain cancer in April 2016. Likewise, the medical officials said that the legendary coach has one year to live.
Despite struggling with cancer, Massimino attended the NCAA tournament at NRG Stadium in Houston. Then, he went to see the Villanova Wildcats winning the prestigious title in late 2016.
In the end, Massimino survived for overall sixteen months. Sadly, he took his last breath at his home on August 30, 2017. He was 82 years old at the time of his demise.
— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) August 30, 2017
Rollie was not there to see Villanova winning NCAA championship in 2018. But, all Villanova players gave tribute wearing throwback uniforms in the 2017/18 season. They also did the 1984/85 championship season victory in honor of his memory.
On the same note, many notable celebrities, legendary basketball players, and NBA fans gave heartfelt condolences to Massimino’s family.
Social media was full of Massimino’s death, sad reactions, and sympathy messages to Rollie’s family. Some people twisted #rolliemassimino #legendarycoach on Twitter.
Villanova Wildcats Became Strong after Massimino’s Demise
A year after Massimino’s death, fans believed to see something more than extra. They wanted to see the mystical and spiritual Villanova Wildcats in the 2018 season.
So, they tied the Final Four record by hitting 13 three-pointers at halftime.
Additionally, the Villanova Wildcats even scored four in a row in a span of 2 minutes and 38 seconds. They also made 6/8 in a 5:32 time span.
— Villanova University (@VillanovaU) August 30, 2017
Many viewers supposed that Rollie Massimino was there, seeing all players with blessings. Moreover, the Villanova Wildcats has become the unstoppable and the best team in the nation.
You Can Check the Obituary of Rollie Massimino Here!
Rollie Massimino was not Indicted to the NCAA Hall of Fame
Rollie Massimino was not inducted into the NCAA Hall of Fame despite being dubbed as one of the coaches of all time.
Moreover, his close friend and the legendary Georgetown Hoyas basketball coach, John Thompson, raised his finger against the injustice, saying,
“If his [Rollie Massimino] win is the greatest upset ever, why isn’t he in the Hall of Fame?”
Johnson further added how his late friend was robbed of this title. While doing so, he even mentioned how they both used to talk about getting the title someday.
Congrats to the great Rollie Massimino on his 800th career victory! pic.twitter.com/zR2y5q6O7S
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) December 15, 2016
Mr. Thompson, further, gave a mesmerizing statement:
“That was something I used to kid him about. But this is still something I know he wanted, he deserved it, and I think it hurt him because it didn’t happen.”
Although Massimino did not list for the Hall of Fame, fans still remember him as a legendary college basketball coach.
Rollie Massimino Had a $5 Million Net Worth.
Rollie Massimino served as a varsity basketball coach for almost 40 years. So, he probably earned impressive earnings throughout his coaching career.
I want more basketball coaches like Rollie Massimino, goddamnit. Is that too much to ask? pic.twitter.com/YjpXqMghMq
— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) August 7, 2018
Massimino maintained a fruitful net worth of $5 million before his demise. Besides, he garnered a handsome paycheque from his commentary works.
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Rollie Massimino Net Worth in Different Currencies
Let’s look into Rollie Massimino’s net worth in different currencies, including the Euro and Pound.
Is Lee Ann Massimino Sleece familiar to Rollie Massimino?
Lee Ann Massimino Sleece is a former Villanova Lacrosse Coach, Rollie Massimino’s daughter.
Is any family member of Rollie Massimino involved in basketball or any other sports?
To sum up, we can say the Massimino family is pretty athletic. Starting from the daughter Lee Ann Massimino Sleece, the former Villanova Lacrosse coach, son Tom Massimino, an assistant coach at UNLV.
Additionally, grandson Roland Massimino, a football player at Hofstra and Johns Hopkins University, and granddaughter Kayla Sleece, Lacrosse at the University of Louisville.
Where did Massimino’s funeral take place?
Massimino’s funeral took place at St. Thomas of Villanova Church from 4 to 8 p.m.
Did Massimino die of a heart attack?
Rumors were on the media that the former American coach died of a heart attack which is not true. Instead, Massimino died after suffering from lung cancer and brain cancer.
Did Rollie Massimino play in documentary series?
During his career, Rollie didn’t play for any documentary series. However, after his death, Fox Sports released a television documentary titled The Maestro: The Rollie Massimino Story.
The documentary was directed by Bill Raftery, showcasing Massimino’s final season (2016-17) at Keiser University.
What is the secret contract controversy of Massimino?
The professional basketball coach was removed from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He was removed because of the secret contract with former UNLV president Robert Maxson.
The contract was to pay the coach $375,000 a year and his $511,000 base salary.