"The opportunity came at a good time. I'm not sure (about my future). Obviously, I'm still anxious to be around young people. I really appreciate the chance. It makes me feel good. It gives me a reason to go out instead of saying, 'Hey, what are you doing tomorrow?' "
Massimino, who guided Villanova to the national championship in 1985, coached at Nevada-Las Vegas the last two years. But he departed as he had arrived, mired in turmoil, after word leaked that, unknown to university officials, Massimino had a lucrative side deal worth $375,000. Massimino and the university reached a financial settlement that removed the coach just prior to the start of preseason practice.
Massimino, who says he was first contacted by CBS, reached a deal with Houston-based Prime Network. Last week he sat beside Al McGuire at a Metro Conference game between Virginia Tech and Tulane, a sort of test run. But this was his official debut. He is scheduled to work about a half-dozen games this season.
"I'm just getting my feet wet. But it's very interesting, a lot of fun," said Massimino, who is living in Florida but claims he isn't playing as much golf as his tan would suggest. "I notice that when I watch games now, I'm looking at different things. I'm really focusing in on the color guys, to see what they're saying. I'm trying to pick up pointers as I go along.
"There's a tremendous amount of work, in terms of preparation. As a coach, you're only concerned with your own team. When you're in front of the camera, the adrenaline begins flowing, just like before. I want to do my best. But I'm only a rookie."
Love him or loathe him, the eagerness shows.
"Everyone told me I have to be myself. That's the buzzword," Massimino said. "That's how I have to approach it. Advice is an important thing, but I have to be Rollie.
"I need to sit back and relax, understand what's going on. I think it can be a very positive thing."