National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame an honor for Herb Magee

When you’re the second-winningest coach in college basketball history, maybe this honor seemed inevitable upon retirement. The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame didn’t wait for Herb Magee’s retirement to enshrine him. They induct a lot of active coaches. But the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame tries to wait for retirement.

That meant Magee and Mike Krzyzewski going into the men’s college basketball shrine together, part of a ceremony last week in Chicago.

Magee’s daughter, Kay, spotting Krzyzewski, asked if she could get a photo of him with her father.

“Sure, the two winningest coaches of all-time, why not?” Krzyzewski said.

Magee knows how to play such situations for laughs.

“You would have to put me in with the only guy who has more wins than me,” Magee quipped at the ceremony.

» READ MORE: Jimmy Reilly, taking over for Herb Magee at Jefferson, looks back and ahead: ‘I want to be Villanova’

In fact, Magee made clear, the whole thing was beyond meaningful. He’d said after his 2011 Naismith induction that whatever gratification his ego needed, he was good forever. So call this an and-one. (An automatic swish for Magee, if you know anything about the man.)

“I made mention [at the ceremony] how this is different. The Naismith Hall of Fame is all of basketball, this is just the college basketball scene,” Magee said. “To be recognized in this Hall of Fame — this is my sport. Basketball is my game, but college basketball is my sport.”

Also inducted were a couple of former playing greats. Former Sixer Johnny Dawkins is a college coach, but it was his Duke playing career that put him in. If you put a Duke guy in, maybe you need to put in a Tar Heel. Tyler Hansbrough was inducted, too.

In a great touch, the Hall of Fame also added legendary talent scout Tom Konchalski, who died in 2021.

» READ MORE: Philadelphia University coach Herb Magee voted into Basketball Hall of Fame (from 2011)

“He would help me over the years, tell me guys that we should recruit — it wasn’t just for Division I,” Magee said of Konchalski.

Jokes aside, the former Philadelphia Textile-turned Philadelphia University-turned Jefferson University coach made clear his admiration for Krzyzewski.

“We won a national title — he won five,” Magee said. “He brought USA Basketball back from the abyss. It was an honor going in with him.”

Magee said he particularly liked the format of the ceremony, being interviewed onstage.

“You don’t have to worry about writing a speech,” Magee said. “And you don’t have to worry about somebody going on for 45 minutes.”

You ask Herb Magee a question, you’ll get an answer. At the ceremony, he called the current state of Philadelphia college basketball “fair” and not “as special as it used to be,” explaining that NIL disparities and this transfer portal era, while completely fair in his mind to the athlete, has changed the landscape.

“Who’s the best shooter you ever had?”

“By far … me,” Magee responded at the ceremony.

Magee has such routines down.

“That’s what they expect to hear, so I gave it to them,” Magee said.

In fact, Magee said, the whole thing was special for his family. He also appreciated the “beautiful watch.”

One last quip …

“I highly recommend it, for any coach, to get into this Hall of Fame,” Magee said.

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