Situation Leaves 'Nova Coach Massimino 'crushed'

Posted: March 11, 1987

Even before Gary McLain's story on his drug use at Villanova was made known to Rollie Massimino, the coach said the speculation of the last several days had hurt him.

On his weekly radio show last night, Massimino, referring to the speculation that McLain had written a story for Sports Illustrated about his

drug problems, said, "I am crushed. I really, really am. But I can't be with Gary McLain, Ed Pinckney, Harold Pressley, Harold Jensen 24 hours a day.

Neither can I be with (sons) Tommie Massimino, R. C. Massimino, (daughter) Lee Ann or even (wife) Mary Jane.

"This is the most devastating thing that has happened to me in 30 years of coaching . . . even more than (Villanova trainer) Jake (Nevin's death),

because that was inevitable.

"This situation, when you have given your life to young peple and you have tried to do everything possible. . . . But life must go on. I will make a public announcement when I read the article."

Massimino was given the chance to read parts of the article after his show, but he declined and reiterated that he would make a statement after he read the article. The magazine is expected to be available at some newsstands today.

Pinckney, who roomed with McLain their first two years at Villanova, said earlier this week that he would be surprised if McLain had a drug problem.

But Pressley, who was a year behind McLain at Villanova, said he had heard rumors of McLain's drug use.

"There were rumors, but I didn't hang out with him very much, so I didn't know," Pressley, who plays for Sacramento of the NBA, said last week. "I heard some things, but you could say that about anybody. . . .

"If someone was having a problem with anything, coach would keep it to

himself, and he and the player would deal with it. . . . There definitely was not a problem with the team as a whole."

Pinckney, reached yesterday morning in Milwaukee after he and his Phoneix Suns teammates had played an NBA game the night before, said he and McLain were close during college and that he had never noticed anything strange. He also said he didn't suspect anyone else on the team of using drugs.

Asked if it would surprise him if McLain had written a story saying he used drugs, Pinckney said, "Yes, it would. For him to come out and say that he was would be really surprising to me.

"I'm thinking of someone I played a national championship with. . . . I'm just really surprised about the entire situation. It's not the Gary that I know."

Jim McIntosh, who played basketball at Villanova from 1965 to 1969, later taught English there and is now an agent for the Philadelphia division of the FBI, routinely lectures local sports teams about the problems of drug use. He said yesterday that he remembered talking to the 1984-85 Villanova team, which

went on to win the NCAA title.

Last week, when asked about the possibility that McLain, who was a senior on that team, had had a drug problem at Villanova, McIntosh said, "I'm flabbergasted - I'm serious. I'm sure Rollie would've notified me."

However, when told last night about the Sports Illustrated story, he said, ''It would be inappropriate at this time to make any comments, especially since I haven't read the article."

comments powered by Disqus