Magee equals Knight with 902nd win

Updated: February 22, 2010, 3:35 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

WATERBURY, Conn. -- Philadelphia University basketball coach Herb Magee won his 902nd game on Saturday to tie Bob Knight for the second-most victories by a men's coach in NCAA history.

The Division II Rams defeated Post 70-67.

Magee is 902-352 in 43 years at Philadelphia and can surpass Knight (902-371) on Tuesday when the Rams play Goldey-Beacom College in Philadelphia.

The NCAA record book recognizes Don Meyer of Northern State as the all-time wins leader with 922. Some of Meyer's wins came at an NAIA school. All of Magee's (and all of Knight's) came at NCAA-sanctioned universities.

"I met him one time years ago," Magee said. "He did a very nice thing when I set a record for the most wins in Division II. Somebody asked him a question and he said, 'Turn on the camera' and said something very complimentary toward me, which makes me know even though I don't know him that he's a historian of the game of basketball. Everybody knows who Bobby Knight is, but Bobby Knight knew who Herb Magee was."

Magee, wearing a black sweat suit and white sneakers, ran on the court when freshman Jim Connolly made a 3-pointer from the top of the key as time expired to win it. Magee's wife, Geri, witnessed the celebration from the bleachers in a gymnasium with a capacity of roughly 275.

Connolly scored 22 points and Malcolm Ingram had 18 for Philadelphia (22-6, 14-1 Central Atlantic). Connolly scored 14 of the team's last 15 points over the final 3:07 to help the Rams erase a seven-point deficit. He made four 3s in that stretch, including one in which he converted a four-point play.

Spencer Smith scored 16 points for Post (10-16, 6-9).

After the game, Magee said he hasn't thought too much about tying or breaking Knight's record. His players echoed that sentiment.

"I'm just honored to be a part of it," Ingram said. "He's had a lot of great players over the years. I'm thankful that I was playing here when it happened."

Magee, 68, has been a coach or player at Philadelphia for 50 years. He played for the Rams from 1959-63 and was twice named an All-American. The Boston Celtics drafted him with the 62nd pick in the 1963 NBA draft but he chose to join his alma mater as an assistant coach under Bucky Harris.

This season marked the 30th time the Rams have won at least 20 games since Magee became coach in 1967. His coaching record includes 24 appearances in the NCAA tournament and a national championship in 1970.

"We respect what Coach Magee has done, we respect Philadelphia, they're a great program but it doesn't have to happen here," Post coach Mike Donnelly said. "That was really our motivation. But it doesn't bother me in the slightest. It would have bothered me if we didn't play well. We went toe to toe with them for 40 minutes. Actually it makes a great story. It's a great way for him to tie the record. Certainly he deserves it."

Three years ago, Post defeated Philadelphia to deny Magee from breaking the record for most wins by a Division II coach.

"The last time we were up here for that record, they had signs in the gym that said, 'Not today Herb.' I thought that was pretty clever," Magee said. "Not funny, but clever."

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.

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