Magee matches Knight with 902nd career win
Philadelphia University basketball coach Herb Magee won his
902nd game on Saturday to tie Bob Knight for the most victories by
a men’s coach in NCAA history.
The Division II Rams defeated Post 70-67.
Magee is 902-352 in 43 years at Philadelphia and can surpass
Knight (902-371) on Tuesday when the Rams play Goldey-Beacom
College in Philadelphia.
“I met him one time years ago,” Magee said. “He did a very
nice thing when I set a record for the most wins in Division II.
Somebody asked him a question and he said, ‘Turn on the camera’ and
said something very complimentary toward me, which makes me know
even though I don’t know him that he’s a historian of the game of
basketball. Everybody knows who Bobby Knight is, but Bobby Knight
knew who Herb Magee was.”
Magee, wearing a black sweat suit and white sneakers, ran on the
court when freshman Jim Connolly made a 3-pointer from the top of
the key as time expired to win it. Magee’s wife, Geri, witnessed
the celebration from the bleachers in a gymnasium with a capacity
of roughly 275.
Connolly scored 22 points and Malcolm Ingram had 18 for
Philadelphia (22-6, 14-1 Central Atlantic). Connolly scored 14 of
the team’s last 15 points over the final 3:07 to help the Rams
erase a seven-point deficit. He made four 3s in that stretch,
including one in which he converted a four-point play.
Spencer Smith scored 16 points for Post (10-16, 6-9).
After the game, Magee said he hasn’t thought too much about
tying or breaking Knight’s record. His players echoed that
“I’m just honored to be a part of it,” Ingram said. “He’s had
a lot of great players over the years. I’m thankful that I was
playing here when it happened.”
Magee, 68, has been a coach or player at Philadelphia for 50
years. He played for the Rams from 1959-63 and was twice named an
All-American. The Boston Celtics drafted him with the 62nd pick in
the 1963 NBA draft but he chose to join his alma mater as an
assistant coach under Bucky Harris.
This season marked the 30th time the Rams have won at least 20
games since Magee became coach in 1967. His coaching record
includes 24 appearances in the NCAA tournament and a national
championship in 1970.
“We respect what Coach Magee has done, we respect Philadelphia,
they’re a great program but it doesn’t have to happen here,” Post
coach Mike Donnelly said. “That was really our motivation. But it
doesn’t bother me in the slightest. It would have bothered me if we
didn’t play well. We went toe to toe with them for 40 minutes.
Actually it makes a great story. It’s a great way for him to tie
the record. Certainly he deserves it.”
Three years ago, Post defeated Philadelphia to deny Magee from
breaking the record for most wins by a Division II coach.
“The last time we were up here for that record, they had signs
in the gym that said, ‘Not today Herb.’ I thought that was pretty
clever,” Magee said. “Not funny, but clever.”