Returning to college basketball a bit faster than I thought we would...
The Big 5 just announced its 2010 Hall of Fame class, and it's a big one: John Chaney, Rollie Massimino and Speedy Morris.
You knew they'd all be inducted at some point, but to have it happen in the same year is quite something.
The date and location of the ceremony have not yet been announced. Villanova plays La Salle on Nov. 18 at the Pavilion and Temple on Dec. 13 at the Liacouras Center. As far as I know, the dates of the Temple-La Salle games have not been announced yet.
I wonder if they'll do it when Temple plays at Penn, which will be in mid-January from what I've heard. Massimino has at least a marginal connection to Penn, having served as an assistant to Chuck Daly for one season, and Fran Dunphy was an assistant to Morris at La Salle for three seasons.
I also wonder if people will complain about Massimino's induction. I think he deserves it because of the national championship. Or, to put it another way, I don't see how you can't induct him - especially when Harold Jensen, Dwayne McClain and Ed Pinckney are already in. If you're going to have a place to honor the best players and coaches in Big 5 history, then Massimino should be there, even with everything that came afterwards.
What do you think?
Here are the bios for each coach that the Big 5 sent along:
Chaney, 77, spent 10 seasons building Philadelphia's Cheyney State (now Cheyney University) into a Division II power before taking the helm at Temple for the 1982-83 season. In his 24 years with the Owls, Chaney led Temple to 17 NCAA Tournament appearances and five regional finals.
Known as a great educator and a fiery, inspirational leader, Chaney and his teams became regarded for their discipline, teamwork and defense. He finished his college coaching career with 741 wins, including a record of 516-253 at Temple. Chaney twice was national coach of the year and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.
Massimino, 74, was an assistant to Chuck Daly at Penn in the 1972-73 season before commencing a remarkable 19-season career as Villanova's head coach from 1973-92. As the leader of the Wildcats, Massimino led the program into the new Big East Conference in 1980 and oversaw Villanova's subsequent transformation to a national power.
Villanova made the NCAA Tournament 11 times under Massimino, including the famed 1985 national championship upset of Georgetown as well as four other trips to the elite eight. Overall, Massimino compiled a record of 357-241 (.596) at Villanova.
Morris, 67, was the head coach at La Salle for 15 seasons from 1986-2001. In his first year at La Salle he led the Explorers to a 20-13 record and the NIT final. From there it was more success with MAAC titles and NCAA appearances in each of the next three seasons, culminating with a 30-2 campaign in 1989-90 that produced the national player of the year, Lionel Simmons.
La Salle made the NIT the following season before claiming another MAAC title and NCAA bid in the 1991-92 season, completing a run of six straight postseason berths. In all, Morris would go on to finish with 238 wins at La Salle, the most in school history.
An alert reader sent along a note that Morris began his coaching career with a two-year stint as the Explorers' women's coach, from 1984-86. I asked Mel Greenberg about this and he noted that Morris was one of the first Division I coaches to make the jump from the women's game to the men's game.