William Massie (’06) returned to Collegiate in 2010 to be an assistant coach of the boys varsity basketball team. You may know him if you’ve recently seen a Collegiate basketball game. He is usually standing next to head coach Del Harris, yelling out instructions and stomping his right foot with authority.
“Mass,” as his players call him, first arrived at Collegiate in 1993 for Kindergarten, and he played soccer and basketball while a student here. Amazingly, Mass had the same three varsity coaches as I did during my varsity soccer career (Middle School head Charlie Blair, Associate Director of Development Shepard Lewis, and alum Rob Ukrop). Massie was also coached by his future colleague, Upper School history and religion teacher Brian Justice, during his JV years, and keeping in theme, on varsity he was coached by another future colleague, Upper School counselor Alex Peavey. His first varsity basketball year turned out to be Coach Peavey’s first varsity year as well.
Massie told me one of his favorite basketball memories when he played JV: “Freshman year we played Freeman the first day of Christmas break. We knew they were better than us, but my teammates, and I had a few Bon Air [intramural basketball] rivalries on the other team. It was a real physical game, and a few parents were getting a little too into it and provided for some quality entertainment. We hit two last-second free throws to win the game. It was great. They killed us later in the season.”
This lifer graduated from Collegiate in 2006 and went on to follow in the footsteps of both of his parents, attending the University of Virginia. Massie grew up watching the Hoos and went to basketball games regularly. During his freshman year, he became one of the managers of the basketball team under former coach Dave Leitao. He managed the team for three years and morphed his schedule around practices and what he describes as a sometimes grueling 30-40-hour-a-week commitment.
Massie decided to manage the team because he loved basketball, especially UVA basketball, and loved being a part of a team, “I learned the most about basketball in those years. I watched three hours of practice a day and was blind to the relevance and importance of the mental part of the basketball. That’s why I wanted to come back and coach. I want to teach the mental aspects of the game that players don’t always realize.” Massie went on to explain that he has so much respect for Coach Peavey, because when he learned the mental aspect he realized how knowledgeable Peavey was in the area. Peavey has nothing but praise for Massie, “What [Massie] brings to the table is breath of experience. A player here on my first ever team, and then becomes the manager at UVA and gained experience. And comes back here wanting to bring that wisdom back to our guys. Which is awesome, because not too long ago he was in their exact shoes.” After his first year of coaching, Coach Harris had similar comments, “ [Massie] is very passionate about basketball. He has a great relationship with players and a high basketball IQ. Being a former player he really understands what it takes to be successful at Collegiate.”
Unfortunately, “Mass” is only part time here at Collegiate. He currently works at Xenith bank and is a senior analyst who works with a team to decide whether or not his bank should loan money to certain businesses.
Massie loves teaching the finer points of the game, and if you play under him you will clearly see it. He loves being a part of the team and even joins us on a few team dinners. He is someone that is easy to connect with, and what I think makes him a great coach and person is that many of his players will be keeping in touch with him long after they graduate. I plan to do the same.