PhilaU’s Magee elected to hoops Hall of Fame

Herb Magee, Philadelphia University men’s basketball coach, said being named as a finalist in the basketball Hall of Fame was easily the greatest thing that’s ever happened to him and his family.

Well, that honor has been topped.

After more than 40 years of stalking the sidelines, and 922 NCAA wins, Magee has been named to the 2011 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He’ll be inducted into the pantheon of hoops in Springfield, Mass., this summer.

The official announcement came Monday in Houston, the site of the 2011 NCAA men’s Final Four.

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“I am completely humbled to be enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame,” Magee said. “I have dedicated my life to the game of basketball, and to become a member of this sport’s elite group of players and coaches is an honor.”

Magee became the all-time winningest men’s NCAA coach in all divisions last year when he surpassed Coach Bobby Knight’s record of 902 wins. He’s been named the National Coach of the Year, the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year and is a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

Magee and basketball go way back to his adolescent days playing in West Philadelphia. He’s been offered jobs elsewhere, ones he describes as flattering, but wouldn’t take a job outside the city.

Magee is proud that his new status as a Hall of Famer brings prestige to his alma mater and home city but says he’s mostly looking forward to getting back on the court. 

In a press release, Philadelphia University President Stephen Spinelli Jr. said the school always knew Magee was worth top honors. 

“Hall-of-Famer Herb Magee has been inspiring us as a player and coach for more than 50 years,” he said. “He takes great pride and pleasure in mentoring his student-athletes, both on and off the court, as well as helping NBA stars perfect their shot. At Philadelphia University, we’ve always known he is at the top of the game, and now the rest of the world knows this, too.”

Magee joins 10 other inductees in the Class of 2011 Hall of Fame, including five time NBA champion Dennis Rodman, former NBA star and 1992 Dream Team member Chris Mullen, and four-time NCAA women’s coach of the year Tara VanDerveer.

“The Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011 is a true global representation of the game of basketball,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board. “These distinguished players and coaches have made an impact at all levels worldwide and they have motivated, taught and inspired future generations to succeed both on and off the court.”

Magee will be officially enshrined on Aug. 12.

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