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Dad coaches against daughter in history-making college basketball matchup

Both dad and daughter described the experience as "surreal."
/ Source: TODAY

Father knows best?

This past weekend, the Army women’s basketball team, led by head coach Dave Magarity, squared off twice against College of the Holy Cross, coached by his daughter, Maureen Magarity, in what is believed to be the first time in Division 1 history a father and daughter faced each other in the sport as head coaches.

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Dave Magarity and daughter Maureen hooped it up when their teams faced each other twice over the weekend.Mady Salvani/Army Athletics

“Well, I've used that expression ‘surreal’ a few times over the past five or six days,” Dave Magarity told TODAY.

“It's been on my mind, but when it finally came, when it actually got here, the game itself was about as weird an experience that I've had as a coach for 45 years,” he added.

“It was just a special, obviously very unique experience, but it was very surreal,” echoed Maureen in a separate interview with TODAY.

Dave and Maureen Magarity speak to the media. The younger Magarity beat her father in both games their teams played.Mady Salvani/Army Athletics

Maureen got the better of her dad in both games, with Holy Cross winning Saturday, 80-46 at Army, in West Point, New York, and 70-61 on Sunday at Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

“It was just a really weird weekend. But, I don't know, the only consolation is if I’m going to lose, I guess it's better to lose my daughter than anybody else,” Dave said.

Both schools compete in the Patriot League, which adjusted schedules this season because of the coronavirus. As a result, they played on consecutive days.

Dave's wife and Maureen's mother, Rita, supported both of them when Dave coached Maureen at Marist.Mady Salvani/Army Athletics

Dave and Maureen have a long basketball history together. He coached her at Marist College and she served as his top assistant at Army for four years before she left to take the head coaching position at the University of New Hampshire in 2010. She is in her inaugural campaign with Holy Cross.

Maureen said she was nervous, noting that in addition to facing her dad, she’s also in her first season on the job and had yet to notch her first win after dropping the first two games of the season earlier in the week.

“I didn’t really sleep all week,” she said.

She was struck by the magnitude of the moment Saturday following their first matchup.

“It really didn’t hit me, honestly, I think until after that first game,” Maureen said, noting they were able to chat after the games and postgame interviews wrapped up. “I did get a little emotional with him afterwards. I just think we were both just a little emotionally drained.”

Holy Cross improved to 2-2 on the season with the victories, while Army dropped to 4-5.

Due to the virus, the teams couldn’t shake hands after the games, so it took some time for father and daughter to exchange pleasantries.

“We're waving to each other at the end of the game, and I'm giving a thumbs up, like, ‘Hey, you just kicked my butt,’” Dave joked.

“After the game, I was able to see her. And obviously, I’m very proud of her,” he added.

Maureen is the mom of two daughters, Charlotte, 8, and Caroline, 4, who certainly got into the spirit of competition between their mother and their grandfather.

“They made sure last night when we came home and we celebrated with cupcakes and they made sure I had to take a video, though, and send it to Pop Pop and say, ‘We still love you Pop Pop. You’re still a good coach. We love you,” she said while laughing.

“They’re so proud of their grandfather and they really got into it. The whole family did. It was just such a special week leading up to this. My nieces, my nephews, my brother, my sister, my mom. It was really special.”

The whole family will have another chance to get their competitive juices flowing when Army and Holy Cross tip off again Feb. 6 and 7.

CORRECTION (Jan. 11, 2021, 7:45 p.m. ET): A previous version of this story misstated the name of the college Maureen Magarity coaches for. It is College of the Holy Cross, not Holy Cross University.