Monday, May 20 2013 5:16 PM EDT2013-05-20 21:16:44 GMT
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TROY, AL -
Legendary men's basketball coach Don Maestri announced his retirement Saturday evening following Troy's quarterfinal game at the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. Maestri has served as the head coach at Troy University for the past 31 years.
Maestri, who was inducted in the inaugural Troy University Sports Hall of Fame class and has the court in Trojan Arena named in his honor, amassed 500 victories over his 31 seasons as the head coach of the Trojans. Troy reached the 20-win plateau eight times during Maestri's illustrious career and won seven conference titles.
"I always knew there was going to be a time when I would need to make a change in my life and now is that time," Maestri said. "I want to thank all of my former players, coaches and everyone associated with Troy University that helped us accomplish some very special moments during my time at Troy. I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend a career and I am thankful for that blessing."
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.
The Trojans 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) during Maestri's tenure. Troy became the first team in NCAA history to score 200 points in a game when it torched DeVry 258-141 in 1992. The Trojans drained 51 3-pointers in the game, which is still an NCAA record.
"Don Maestri has built a hall of fame coaching career at Troy University," said Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor of Troy University. "He not only took us to the top of Division II by reaching the championship game in 1993, Coach Maestri also led our program through a successful transition to Division I, the highest level of NCAA competition. But what I will always appreciate most about Don Maestri is he is a gentleman who always represents Troy University with class and dignity. Trojan fans everywhere owe Don Maestri a huge debt for his outstanding leadership of our basketball program for the past 31 years."
Maestri was named conference coach of the year seven times and earned the honor in five different leagues.
"It's hard to express what Don Maestri has meant not only to the Troy men's basketball program, but also to the entire University," Troy Athletics Director John Hartwell said. "Don has been a great ambassador for Troy University for 31 years and his legacy will be much more than what his teams accomplished on the basketball floor. Don's work off the court with the development of his players as men is admirable and I want to thank Don for his service and dedication to Troy University. His name and all that he accomplished at Troy University will carry forward on "Court Maestri" in Trojan Arena."