Tuesday, April 5, 2011

'Nova's '85 Titlist Spawned 3 MAAC Coaches

As always during the NCAA men's basketball tournament, when talk turns to classic championship game upsets, the 1985 Villanova team's surprise victory over Georgetown is prominently mentioned.

And, so it was during the pregame telecast of Monday night's championship game between UConn and Butler, complete with the post-game on-court celebration by Villanova There, in the middle of the Wildcats' wild on-court scene immediately following the final buzzer were some prominent future MAAC connections.

Villanova's head coach was Rollie Massimino, whose entire three-man staff of assistants would all go on to coach Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference teams. And, your blogging hoopscribe does not believe there to be another case of three assistant coaches from the same staff all eventually running MAAC programs.

But, there they were in the old clips ... Mitch Buonaguro, Marty Marbach and Steve Lappas, all Villanova assistant coaches when the Wildcats won the national championship of the 1984-85 season.

Buonaguro is still prowling a MAAC sideline, just finishing his first season as Siena's coach. He previously coached at Fairfield (1985-91), getting that job mere weeks after doing the scout and preparing the scouting report that was the blueprint for Villanova's victory over Georgetown.

Lappas went on to coach Manhattan (1988-92). From there he replaced Massimino at Villanova (1992-01) and, then, was the head coach at UMass (2001-05). Lappas is now a college basketball analyst for CBS sports.

Marbach went on to coach at Canisius (1987-92), but never returned to a college sideline after being dismissed at that program. He did reside in the Albany, N.Y., area for several years and served as a color commentator for Siena men's radio broadcasts for several seasons in the mid-1990s.

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