Waynesburg coach Marisa retires
Rudy Marisa, who spent his entire 34-year college coaching career at Waynesburg College, where he won a school-record 565 men’s basketball games, announced his retirement Monday night.
Marisa, who will remain on as athletic director of the NCAA Division III school, cited health concerns for his decision. He declined to elaborate, except to say he is “doing well.”
Frank Ferraro, who has served the past two seasons as an assistant to Marisa, was named interim coach for this season. There was no immediate word on Ferraro’s status beyond this season, but Marisa gave school officials a high recommendation to elevate Ferraro’s position.
Ferraro also is a former high school coach at South Fayette, Burgettstown and Moon Area for a combined 25 seasons.
“The support that I’ve received from the Waynesburg College administration has allowed my tenure to be both enjoyable and successful,” Marisa said. “After 34 years, it is difficult, if not impossible, to summarize my career. But I will say that it has been exciting and extremely rewarding.”
Marisa, who began his run at Waynesburg with the 1969-70 season, when the school competed in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, finished his coaching career with a 565-300 record.
He ranks tied for 53rd in career victories in all NCAA divisions with two other coaches, including Gale Catlett, the former West Virginia and Cincinnati coach. Marisa’s win total also is tied for 17th among active coaches, and he ranks seventh all-time in NCAA Division III victories.
Under Marisa last season, Waynesburg finished 16-9 overall and 6-4 in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.
Marisa and the Yellow Jackets enjoyed enormous success at the NAIA level, where they reached the national tournament seven times, including the 1987-88 teams, which won a school-record 32 games and advanced to the semifinals.
In October 1999 — the year after he won his 500th career game — Waynesburg named its gymnasium after Marisa, who met with his team during late afternoon yesterday in what resulted in an emotional encounter for both sides.
“It was the toughest thing I’ve done,” he said. “You read about this type of thing and you wonder.
“But I got very emotional.”
Eastern Michigan pulled out of Pitt’s six-team winter basketball tournament, which is scheduled for Dec. 17-22 at the Petersen Events Center.
The exodus affects the scheduling of the event and forces Pitt to add another team. Pitt was scheduled to play Eastern Michigan on Dec. 20. Also, Florida State is left without a first-round game.
“The organizers are searching for a team to complete the tournament field and fill the hole left on our schedule,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “At this date, we don’t have any idea who that team might be. We have been told that it could be a lower Division I or Division II team.”
The Seminoles are still guaranteed four games in the exempt tournament.
The tournament is not a traditional round-robin with a championship game. Pairings are already pre-determined, though they’ll change with the departure of EMU. The tournament currently comprises Pitt, Chicago State, Murray State, Florida State and Wagner.