History is making a meal of Rollie Massimino.
Two decades after coaching Villanova to a nearly perfect upset of Georgetown in 1985, Massimino has seen his last shred of coaching competence called into question.
|Rollie Massimino, shown in '94 while coach at UNLV, has had a steep fall from grace since the magic of '85.(Getty Images)|
Team spokesman Brian McCann said the school couldn't comment, and Massimino didn't respond to phone messages left at listings under his name in Pennsylvania and Florida. At this point, what could Massimino say?
He is almost 70 years old and reportedly suffered a stroke shortly after leaving Cleveland State. Little has gone right since he left Villanova in 1992, but at least he has his 1985 championship ring and a clean slate with the NCAA. Now the NCAA is checking that slate for dirt?
It's sad. In 1985, he was the cuddly curmudgeon who led unlikely Villanova to the NCAA title. Since then, he has failed in almost every area that a coach can fail.
- A star on his 1985 Villanova team, Gary McLain, admitted two years later he had battled a cocaine addiction during that championship season.
Massimino has said he didn't know about his starting point guard's drug problem, leaving outsiders to wonder what would be worse -- whether he was lying or telling the truth.
- Massimino was introduced at UNLV in 1992 as Mr. Clean, the man who would lead the school out of the successful but sordid Jerry Tarkanian era. Two years later, he was forced out when it was revealed he and UNLV president Robert Maxson had cut a side deal to lift his salary -- reported to the state at $511,000 -- to $886,000.
The school's board of regents didn't know about the extra $375,000 being funneled to Massimino by something called the Varsity Club. The Nevada Ethics Commission decided the secret agreement violated state ethics laws as well as UNLV rules.
- In 1996, Cleveland State hired Massimino to clean up a program that had been reeling since coach Kevin Mackey staggered out of a crack house in 1990. Instead, three of Massimino's last four leading scorers ran into substantial off-court trouble.
It began in 1998, when Massimino accepted an Ohio State transfer named Damon Stringer, who had recently pleaded no contest in a road rage incident in which he caused almost $4,000 damage to another car and drew a suspended 30-day jail sentence.