Click here to listen to Matt Leon's interview with Herb Magee
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame today named an elite list of players and coaches as finalists to be considered for election to the Hall in 2011. Among them is legendary Philadelphia University Coach Herb Magee, who became the #1 NCAA men's basketball coach in history in February of 2010. Click here to read the official announcement.
The Class of 2011 will be announced on Monday, April 4 at a news conference in Houston prior to the NCAA's Men's Championship game. The Class of 2011 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Mass., in late summer.
"Herb Magee has long been a Philadelphia University icon and a Philadelphia treasure," said Philadelphia University President Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D. "With his record-setting win last season, Coach Magee cements his rightful place as one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time. We are thrilled that he is a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame finalist for the Class of 2011."
A Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Sports Hall of Famer, Magee has had an extraordinary career during his 51 seasons as a player and coach at Philadelphia University.
Magee become the #1 NCAA men's basketball coach when notched his 903rd career coaching win Feb. 23, 2010, passing Bobby Knight's record of 902 wins. Still an active coach, he has 921 wins as of Friday, Feb. 17, 2011.
Renowned as a coach, player and "shot doc" to top NBA stars, Coach Magee became the number one all-time Division II men's basketball coach in NCAA history on February 1, 2007, when he earned win 829 in a heart-stopping double-overtime win against Wilmington College to break the mark previously held by Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall-of-Famer Clarence "Big House" Gaines.
Continuing his record-breaking success, last season Magee passed former Kentucky Coach Adolph Rupp's NCAA record of 877 wins and former North Carolina coach Dean Smith's NCAA record of 879 career wins.
In just his third year of coaching, Magee led the Rams to a 1970 NCAA National Championship, and has taken his team to the NCAA Tournament 25 times. In 2010, the team made it to the Division II Sweet Sixteen.
At 69, Magee is still at the top of his game and respected throughout the basketball world as perhaps the greatest shooting coach of all time. Just ask Charles Barkley, Malik Rose, Sebastian Telfair and Jameer Nelson, among those who have sought the "shot doc" out to improve their jump shots.
Magee also is a highly respected coaching mentor, and many of his former assistants and players have gone on to top coaching jobs, including Pat Chambers at Boston University and Steve Donohue at Boston College.
Although he's had opportunities to move to DI and NBA teams, Magee has chosen to stay close to his family and hometown of Philadelphia. Having lost both his parents by age 13, this 5'10" kid from West Philadelphia was a playground legend during the time of Earl Monroe, Wali Jones and Walt Hazzard, and starred at famed West Catholic High along with lifetime friends and future coaches Jim Lynam and Jim Boyle.
After his playing days, he was drafted by the Celtics, but instead chose to make his mark as a coach, becoming head coach at his alma mater in 1966. Remarkably, Magee has won more than 1,100 games with the Rams, including his years as a player and coach.
A two-time All-America selection at what was then Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, Magee ended his college career as the Rams' top scorer and today remains the team's third all-time high scorer with 2,235 career points, an extraordinary achievement in the era before the three-point shot.