LEX 18 True Blue Coverage

Jul 11, 2012 10:51 AM by Mike Maharrey

Coaching Legend Will Lead Team To Rupp For Exhibition Against Cats

A college basketball coaching legend will return to the site of his greatest triumph this fall.

1n 1985, Rollie Massimino led his upstart Villanova Wildcats to a shocking National Championship win at Rupp Arena over John Thompson's Georgetown University led by Patrick Ewing.

The 77-year-old currently coaches Northwood College, an NAIA DII school in West Palm Beach. The Seahawks will visit Rupp for an exhibition game against the Kentucky Wildcats on Nov. 1.

The tiny school has enjoyed success under Massimino. The Seahawks went 33-4 and were NAIA DII runners-up last year. In six seasons as the Northwood skipper, Massimino has put together an impressive 171-37 record.

The 1985 NCAA championship run was impressive in its own right. An eight-seed, Villanova knocked off Dayton, one-seed Michigan, four-seed Maryland and two-seed North Carolina to reach the Final Four in Lexington. In the the semifinal game, Massimino's Wildcats knocked off two-seed Memphis State 52-45 to earn a trip to the championship game. The beat Georgetown 66-64 to win the title.

Thirty years later, Massimino says he approaches coaching his kids at Northwood the same way he did when he was an 'Nova.

"I treat it like we're Division I," Massimino told Rivals.com columnist David Fox in a 2010 interview. "I tell them if I put a Villanova shirt on you and a Northwood shirt on the Villanova kid, it's the same."

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