Rollie Massimino, the former coach of UNLV’s Runnin’ Rebels, who led Villanova’s storied run to the 1985 NCAA championship and won more than 800 games in his career, died Wednesday after a long battle with cancer. He was 82.
Massimino’s death was announced by Keiser University, where he was still the men’s basketball coach. He spent the final days of his life in Hospice care.
Best known for that national title at Villanova, Massimino also coached at Stony Brook, UNLV and Cleveland State. Massimino left Villanova in 1992 to replace Jerry Tarkanian at UNLV.
Massimino spent two seasons at UNLV (1992-93 and 1993-94) and his time coaching the team came with controversy. Massimino had a short-lived career at UNLV because it was revealed he cut a side deal with school president Robert Maxson to boost his salary.
Massimino spent the last 11 years of his life at Keiser, where he started the program and turned it into an NAIA power.
He was a finalist for enshrinement in the Basketball Hall of Fame this year. Massimino is survived by his wife, five children and 17 grandchildren. Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.