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Remembering Rollie

Remembering Rollie


This past week I learned, with great sadness, of the loss of longtime Northwood University men’s basketball coach Rollie Massimino. In thinking on his time at Northwood, I reflected on his leadership. For Rollie, leadership meant fostering the talents and savvy within his student athletes that helped to someday make them great leaders in the business world. Fun-loving, dedicated, and a brilliant basketball mind, Rollie was a great leader on and off the court. From his historic and unlikely 1985 NCAA Championship win over Georgetown as the coach of Villanova, to his 2012 NAIA Championship game as the coach of Northwood, he was passionate in everything he did.

One of my fondest memories of Rollie was watching him coach—emphatically, as he did—Northwood University players at their very first game in the Countess de Hoernle Student Life Center in 2006. Some years later, I was able to share another great memory with him in that same place, as Northwood dedicated the Massimino Court in his honor.

Leadership sometimes reveals itself in the most unlikely places. For Rollie, leadership was manifested in the way he deeply loved his wife, Mary Jane, and family. It was central to his development of great players who he ensured were also great young men. Rollie Massimino will be dearly missed by us, the Northwood family, but we will always be grateful for his lessons, his passion and all he did for our students.

Have a great weekend!


Keith A. Pretty, J.D. President and CEO Northwood University 4000 Whiting Drive Midland, MI 48640 989.837.4203

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