Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Herb Magee has been the face of the Philadelphia University men’s basketball program for 56 years as a student-athlete and a coach. In his time at the University, Magee has led the program to national prominence and a mainstay as an East Region power.
Magee is just one of two coaches in NCAA men’s basketball history to record 1,000 career victories, accomplishing the feat on Feb. 7, 2015 with an 80-60 victory over Post University. In his just third season at the helm, Magee led the Rams to the 1970 NCAA College Division National Championship.
As he goes into his 49th season as the Rams’ head coach, Magee has amassed 1,009 victories—which ranked first in NCAA Division II men’s basketball and second across all three divisions—and made 28 appearances in the NCAA Tournament. His coaching has produced 12 All-Americans, including 2007 Daktronics NCAA Division II Player of the Year Christian Burns, and 44 1,000-point scorers.
Magee’s teams have won at least 20 games 32 times and 25 contests in 11 seasons. The 1992-93 team posted a school-record 30 games on its way to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.
During the national championship 1969-70 season, Philadelphia overcame a 1-2 start to run off 28 consecutive victories on its way to the crown. The Rams won their final 26 contests by a double-figure margin. In the NCAA Tournament, the Rams won their five games by an average of 23.8 points, including a 101-53 thrashing of American International in the quarterfinal round. Philadelphia won the school’s first national title with a 76-65 win over Tennessee State.
In the 2009-10 season that saw the Rams reach the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals, Magee won his 903rd career game to pass Bobby Knight for first on the NCAA men’s basketball coaching wins list. The milestone victory came on February 23, 2010 by a 76-65 score over visiting Goldey-Beacom. This achievement came nearly three years to the day, February 1, 2007, that Magee became the Division II men’s basketball wins leader after picking up his 829th win to pass Clarence “Big House” Gaines.
Magee’s accomplishments have led to an impressive list of honors, most notably induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. His induction class included St. John’s men’s basketball head coach and former NBA player Chris Mullin, Stanford women’s basketball head coach Tara VanDerveer, former Kansas State head coach Tex Winer, and former NBA players Dennis Rodman and Arvydas Sabonis,
A member of seven Halls of Fame, Magee is also enshrined in the West Catholic High School Hall of Fame, Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame (1979), Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame (1979), Philadelphia University Athletics Hall of Fame (1984), Philadelphia Area Small College Basketball Hall of Fame (2002), and the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame (2008).
In 2005, Magee was selected as a “Guardian of the Game” by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) under its Education core value and was honored at the NCAA Division I Final Four. Two years later, Magee was given the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Philadelphia Sports Congress. The Philadelphia Sports Writers Association tabbed Magee as its “Living Legend” in 2012.
In 1976, Magee earned the NABC Division II Co-Coach of the Year Award along with Puget Sound’s Don Zech. He has also been recognized as the NABC Division II East District Coach of the Year (1971, ’73, ’89, ’93), Kodak District Coach of the Year (1993), Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year (2008, ’10), New York Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year (1993, ’94, ’04), and Mideast Collegiate Conference Co-Coach of the Year (twice).
Not only is Magee a tremendous coach, he is also one of the best players to wear a Philadelphia University uniform. As a guard for then-Philadelphia Textile from 1959 to 1963, Magee poured in 2,235 and averaged a school record 29.1 points per game in the 1961-62 season. Magee—an All-American in 1962 and 1963—led the Rams to a 75-17 record and to the 1963 NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.
After Magee graduated from Textile in 1963 with a marketing degree, he was taken by the Boston Celtics with the 62nd pick of that summer’s NBA Entry Draft. Magee chose not to join the Celtics and went back to Textile to serve as an assistant coach under his mentor Walter “Bucky” Harris—a position he held until taking over the program in 1967.
Dubbed “The Shot Doctor”, Magee has worked with numerous NBA players on the art of the jump shot, including 2006 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Charles Barkley, the Denver Nuggets’ Jameer Nelson, and the Boston Celtics’ Evan Turner. He has also produced a pair of instruction DVDs: “Nothing But Net” and “Nothing But Drills”.
Herb Magee Coaching Record
|1967-68||Philadelphia U.||21-6||.778||Second Round|
|1968-69||Philadelphia U.||20-5||.800||First Round|
|1969-70||Philadelphia U.||29-2||.935||National Champion|
|1970-71||Philadelphia U.||22-6||.786||Second Round|
|1971-72||Philadelphia U.||22-7||.759||Second Round|
|1972-73||Philadelphia U.||25-4||.862||Second Round|
|1974-75||Philadelphia U.||21-6||.778||Round of 16|
|1975-76||Philadelphia U.||25-3||.893||Round of 16|
|1976-77||Philadelphia U.||22-6||.786||First Round|
|1977-78||Philadelphia U.||18-10||.643||Round of 16|
|1978-79||Philadelphia U.||20-8||.714||First Round|
|1982-83||Philadelphia U.||23-7||.767||Round of 16|
|1984-85||Philadelphia U.||24-7||.774||Round of 16|
|1988-89||Philadelphia U.||24-7||.774||First Round|
|1990-91||Philadelphia U.||24-8||.750||National Quarterfinals|
|1991-92||Philadelphia U.||28-4||.875||Round of 16|
|1992-93||Philadelphia U.||30-2||.938||National Quarterfinals|
|1993-94||Philadelphia U.||29-2||.935||Round of 16|
|1994-95||Philadelphia U.||26-5||.839||Round of 16|
|2000-01||Philadelphia U.||24-7||.774||Second Round|
|2003-04||Philadelphia U.||26-8||.765||First Round|
|2006-07||Philadelphia U.||20-10||.667||First Round|
|2007-08||Philadelphia U.||22-12||.647||First Round|
|2008-09||Philadelphia U.||25-6||.806||First Round|
|2009-10||Philadelphia U.||27-8||.771||Round of 16|
|2011-12||Philadelphia U.||19-10||.655||First Round|
|2013-14||Philadelphia U.||25-7||.781||First Round|
|2014-15||Philadelphia U.||24-8||.750||First Round|
|48-year career record||1009-400||.716|