Monday, March 22, 2010

Twilight of the coach.

There's a very interesting article in this morning's Philly Inquirer about the effect of the three-point shot on the game of basketball.

It uses Villanova's historic upset of Georgetown in the NCAA Championship Game 25 years ago next Thursday (April Fool!) as starting point and looks at how that game would have been different and how all games are different since. Phil Martelli's comment in the final paragraph sums it up: Rollie Massimino made that victory happen.

It used to be said about Rollie that, if he had two days to prepare, he could come up with a game plan to beat anybody. That truism was often manifested in the early rounds of the NCAAs and that's why, in addition to his being the only one who ever won it all, this is the larger picture:
Massimino had the most successful 10-year postseason run in Big Five history, reaching the Elite Eight five times from 1978 to 1988.
That's a quote from this story, which ran over the weekend. It's well worth reading about how, at age 75, Rollie just keeps on keepin' on.

As I've recounted before, Rollie and I had our problems (almost entirely on his end), but I always loved him as a coach, for his skills, for his passion, for the way his players all graduated and stayed part of the larger Villanova community.

For a lot of reasons, some his own fault, some a convenient way for the Big Five to move into modern times and have a scapegoat to blame, Rollie remains a somewhat controversial figure in the city. That's slowly changing and someday it will have to be acknowledged that he was the best we ever saw in the era when coaches could--and did--win games.

Even if it sometimes took a Perfect Game to do it.

1 comment:

  1. That was one of the most incredible basketball games I've ever seen in my entire life. I was actually rooting for Georgetown, but I didn't even mind that they lost, the performance was so incredibly perfect.