Legendary Troy University men's basketball head coach Don Maestri was bestowed one of the highest honors in the coaching profession when the playing surface in the new Trojan Arena was named "Court Maestri" on Thursday night. The dedication was held prior to Troy's game against ULM.
Maestri was joined on the court prior to the game by his family, longtime assistant coach David Felix, Troy Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., and Troy Athletics Director John Hartwell and former players.
Maestri, who was inducted in the inaugural Troy University Sports Hall of Fame class this past summer, has amassed 494 victories over his 30-plus seasons as the head coach of the Trojans. Troy has reached the 20-win plateau eight times during Maestri's illustrious career and has won seven conference titles.
"I was really caught off guard and very surprised when they told me," Maestri said prior to the ceremony. "It is a very nice honor and it's also very humbling. It is an honor that I share with so many people that have helped make Troy basketball a success. In a team sport like this, there are so many people that made us successful."
Maestri took over a struggling NCAA Division II program in 1981 and quickly turned the Trojans into a powerhouse. Troy averaged 23 wins a year over its final six seasons as a Division II member, including a 72-19 record from 1990-93.
Maestri and his longtime partner, associate head coach David Felix, form the nation's longest tenured head coach-assistant coach duo as Felix has been on the Troy sideline for 32 seasons and Maestri for 31.
Over that span, the Trojans have led the nation in scoring three times (1991, 1992, 1996) and led the country in 3-point shooting seven different times (1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2004, 2005, 2006). Troy became the first team in NCAA history to score 200 points in a game when they torched DeVry 258-141 in 1992. The Trojans drained 51 3-pointers in the game, which is still an NCAA record.
"Coach Maestri enjoys a rich legacy at Troy University," Troy Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., said. "He is a 'player's coach' and a wonderful human being. I value him as a colleague and friend. 'Court Maestri' is a fitting and lasting tribute to him and reflects the value we place upon his unprecedented contributions to the basketball program at Troy University."
Maestri has seven times been named conference coach of the year and has earned the honor in five different leagues; only West Virginia's Bob Huggins can claim that distinction among active coaches.
The game was televised on the Sun Belt Network, which airs on CSS and CST throughout the Southeast. Coverage of the game can be found on www.TroyTrojans.com.
INFORMATION SOURCE: Troy Athletics Dept.