The Mighty Macs Opens To 1000 Theaters Nationwide October 21, 2011

Let the hoopla begin! After nearly four years since filming began here in the Philadelphia area, The Mighty Macs is finally coming out to theatres on October 21.

It’s the true life story of Cathy Rush, the women’s basketball coach at Immaculata College in the early seventies who, against all odds, took her team to number one.

The film was written and directed by Tim Chambers, a Newtown Square native and University of Pennsylvania grad who came to the attention of a staff member at Immaculata when she read an article about his film work.  She contacted him to see if he’d be interested in making a movie about Rush and her Mighty Macs. 

Once he agreed, he enlisted local radio personality and reporter Anthony Gargano to research the story by interviewing Cathy Rush and the members of the original team along with other key people to the story to supply information for the script.

Chambers then took the facts Gargano gathered and wrote the screenplay.  He was also in charge of raising money to make the movie, and for that, he called on his old friend Pat Croce who had supplied physical therapy services and workout facilities to Chambers during his own athletic days, playing football for Penn.

Although he’s basically a household word in Philly, to the uninitiated, Pat Croce used to own the 76ers. He was the first person to ascend from the training room to the boardroom of a professional sports team. His climb to success from a physical therapist and pioneer in the sports medicine field to the colorful leader responsible for the resurrection of the Philadelphia 76ers as an NBA championship contender has been defined as one of the most amazing stories in sports history.

In addition to Croce accepting Executive Producer role, Vince Curran also stepped up to help finance the film. Curran is a successful businessman and former basketball star at Penn.

Chambers had one actress in mind to play Cathy Rush and that was Carla Gugino. She was his number one choice, and she took the job and ran with it.  You might know her from her role as an agent on Entourage, representing Vinnie Chase (Adrian Grenier) and having a brief affair with him on the show.  

Ellen Burstyn, David Boreanaz (another Philly native), and Marley Shelton round out the cast. All of the girls cast as team players are making their feature film debut.  For supporting roles, Chambers was very committed to casting local talent. As a native Philadelphian, he was familiar with the richness of talent in the area.  He wanted to give local actors an opportunity to shine.

Joe Conklin, local stand-up comedian and sports radio contributor was chosen to play a sports announcer at the big finale game at West Chester University. He uses one of his many accents and his face is seen. Philly radio listeners will also recognize the voice of Michael Schmerconish as the film opens (probably chosen by Pat Croce since they are neighbors) and Bill Campbell, play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles, and 76ers. Kathy Romano from the Preston and Steve show (WMMR) got a coveted speaking role as an airline attendant.

I caught the busy Director on the phone to talk about The Mighty Macs while he was at the Kimmel Center getting ready for a big festive premiere there to benefit Immaculata University and Coaches vs. Cancer.