Al McGuire

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Al McGuire
Sport(s) Basketball
Biographical details
Born (1928-09-07)September 7, 1928
New York City, New York
Died January 26, 2001(2001-01-26) (aged 72)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Playing career
1947–1951 St. John's
1951–1953 New York Knicks
1953–1954 Baltimore Bullets
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1955–1957 Dartmouth (assistant)
1957–1964 Belmont Abbey
1964–1977 Marquette
Accomplishments and honors
NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship: (1977)
Regional Championships - Final Four (1974, 1977)
NIT Champions (1970)
AP, UPI, and USBWA Coach of the Year (1971)
NABC Coach of the Year (1974)
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1992
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006
Al McGuire
Chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
In office
President Jimmy Carter
Preceded by Jerry Apodaca
Succeeded by George Allen

Alfred Emanuel McGuire (September 7, 1928 – January 26, 2001) was the head coach of the Marquette University men's basketball team from 1964 to 1977. He won a national championship at Marquette and was later inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. He was also well known as a longtime national television basketball broadcaster and for his colorful personality.


Early life

He played three years of basketball at St. John's Prep, Brooklyn, New York (graduated 1947), and went on to star at St. John's University (1947–1951), where he played for four years and captained the 1951 team that posted a 26–5 mark and finished third in the NIT.

NBA career

After college, McGuire played in the NBA, first with the New York Knicks (1951–53) and then with the Baltimore Bullets (1954). While with the Knicks, he once famously pleaded with his coach for playing time, with this guarantee: "I can stop Cousy." Inserted into the lineup, McGuire proceeded to foul him on his next six trips down the court.

Coaching career

McGuire began his coaching career as an assistant at Dartmouth College (1955–1957) for head coach Alvin "Doggie" Julian. McGuire coached the freshman team at Dartmouth. One of his players was Dave Gavitt. McGuire then took his first head coaching job at Belmont Abbey College (1957–1964), in Belmont, North Carolina, where he recruited many high school players off the streets of New York.

McGuire became head coach at Marquette University in 1964 where he enjoyed success, including the NIT Championship in 1970 and a Final Four appearance in 1974, where McGuire became the first coach ejected from a championship game.[1][2]

With assistant coaches Hank Raymonds (who would succeed him) and Rick Majerus, who would become a successful college head coach, McGuire led the Warriors (now known as Golden Eagles) to the university's only NCAA basketball championship, in 1977, his final season as a head coach.[3] McGuire's Marquette team, led by Alfred "Butch" Lee, Maurice "Bo" Ellis and Jerome Whitehead, defeated Dean Smith's North Carolina Tar Heels for the title, just two days after Whitehead received a full-court pass and subsequently made a last-second shot (the same style of shot made by Duke's Christian Laettner against Kentucky 15 years later) propelling Marquette past UNC Charlotte in the National Semifinals. Marquette had seven losses going into the '77 NCAA Tournament, the most losses up to that time for a team that would win the NCAA Championship.[3][4] The thrilling weekend in Atlanta's Omni Coliseum provided a happy sendoff.

Business career

On December 17, 1976, McGuire stunned fans by announcing that he would retire as coach after the end of the 1976-77 season to become vice chairman of Medalist Industries, effective May 1, 1977. McGuire resigned as vice chairman of the company on March 20, 1978.

Broadcasting career

After retiring from coaching, McGuire became a popular commentator for NBC Sports[5] and CBS Sports. McGuire's on-air arguments with then-NBC colleague Billy Packer helped increase the popularity of college basketball across the United States. McGuire was courtside for the landmark 1979 championship game between Indiana State and Michigan State that pitted Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, which is remembered as a game that vastly enhanced the appeal of college basketball. Reflecting on the event 10 years later, McGuire said that the 1979 title game "put college basketball on its afterburner." That national championship game remains the highest rated NCAA Final broadcast.


McGuire died at 72 after a long bout with leukemia on January 26, 2001, in Brookfield, Wisconsin.


The Al McGuire Center, which includes a statue in his honor, opened on the Marquette campus in 2004.

He was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.

McGuire's brother Dick (Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee 1993) was also a prominent figure in basketball, having starred at St. John's and then with the New York Knicks of the NBA. Dick and Al both played for the Knicks. They are the only pair of brothers, and one of only two sibling pairs (the other being Cheryl and Reggie Miller), inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.[6] Others in the Hall of Fame Class of '92 included Lou Carnesecca, Phil Woolpert, Jack Ramsay, Connie Hawkins, Bob Lanier, Sergei Belov, Nera D. White and Lusia Harris Steward. McGuire is not related to the late North Carolina and South Carolina coach Frank McGuire. Al and Frank coached against each other when Frank was head man at South Carolina. Al played for Frank at St. John's. Frank McGuire has been considered Al's coaching mentor.

McGuire was survived by his wife, Patricia, three children, sons Allie (who played for his father at Marquette) and Rob and daughter Noreen, and six grandchildren.


Al McGuire's former television broadcast partner and friend, Dick Enberg, penned a one-man theatrical play entitled McGuire. It debuted at Marquette University's Helfaer Theater in 2005, and returned there by popular demand in 2006. It was then presented at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta during the 2007 Final Four Championship, at Hofstra University in February 2008, and at the North Coast Repertory in San Diego County in April 2008. It returned to North Coast Rep by popular demand in August 2008, and then went to Central Michigan University, Dick Enberg's alma mater, on October 10, 2008, after which there was a benefit performance for the San Diego Chargers on November 12, 2008. The play received rave reviews as an accurate portrayal of the eccentric coach, portrayed by Cotter Smith.

Four books have been written about McGuire's life. McGuire's biography "You Can Call Me Al: The Colorful Journey of College Basketball's Original Flower Child, Al McGuire," written by Chicago area author and journalist Joseph Declan Moran with McGuire's cooperation, was first published in March 1999 by Prairie Oak Press (Madison, WI); "I Remember Al McGuire: Personal Memories and Testimonials to College Basketball's Wittiest Coach and Commentator (as told by the people who knew him)," written by Mike Towle, was published in December 2001 by Cumberland House Publishing; "Cracked Sidewalks and French Pastry: The Wit and Wisdom of Al McGuire," written by Tom Kertscher, was published by University of Wisconsin Press in November 2002; "Al McGuire: The Colorful Warrior," written by Roger Jaynes, was published by Sports Publishing LLC in July 2004.

Coaching accomplishments

  • Belmont Abbey record: 109-64
  • Coached Belmont Abbey to five postseason appearances
  • Marquette record: 295-80
  • Coached team to 11 consecutive postseason bids at Marquette
  • NIT championship (1970)
  • Coached team to a 28-1 season (1971)
  • Associated Press, United Press International and United States Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year (1971)
  • NABC Coach of the Year (1974)
  • NCAA championship (1977)
  • Among a select few coaches who have won both the NIT and NCAA championships
  • Marquette captured its first ever NCAA championship with a 67-59 victory over North Carolina in McGuire's last game as coach
  • More than 92 percent of his student-athletes completed requirements to earn their degrees from Marquette
  • Twenty-six of his players were drafted into the NBA
  • Marquette University Athletic Director (1973–77)
  • Conducted clinics at two Air Force bases in Europe (1971)

Head coaching record

Season Team Overall Postseason
Belmont Abbey Crusaders () (1957–1964)
1957–58 Belmont Abbey 24–3
1958–59 Belmont Abbey 21–2
1959–60 Belmont Abbey 19–5
1960–61 Belmont Abbey 17–6
1961–62 Belmont Abbey 15–8
1962–63 Belmont Abbey 7–21
1963–64 Belmont Abbey 6–18
Belmont Abbey: 109–63
Marquette Warriors (Independent) (1964–1977)
1964–65 Marquette 8–18
1965–66 Marquette 14–12
1966–67 Marquette 21–9 NIT Runner-up
1967–68 Marquette 23–6 NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1968–69 Marquette 24–5 NCAA Elite Eight
1969–70 Marquette 26–3 NIT Champions
1970–71 Marquette 28–1 NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1971–72 Marquette 25–4 NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1972–73 Marquette 25–4 NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1973–74 Marquette 26–5 NCAA Runner-up
1974–75 Marquette 23–4 NCAA Round of 32
1975–76 Marquette 27–2 NCAA Elite Eight
1976–77 Marquette 25–7 NCAA Champions
Marquette: 295–80
Total: 404–143

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

Broadcasting experience

  • College basketball analyst, NBC Sports and CBS Sports
  • Basketball analyst, 1988 Olympic Games
  • Color commentator for CBS Sports' March Madness
  • Perhaps his most famous line as a commentator came during the 1992 NCAA Tournament at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, when McGuire blurted out "Holy mackerel! Holy mackerel! Holy mackerel!" following a game-winning buzzer beater by Georgia Tech's James Forrest. The shot was the first three-pointer of Forrest's collegiate career in the first game McGuire broadcast for CBS.
  • Following his broadcast of a 1996 NCAA Regional Championship, McGuire garnered fame for dancing with the players of Syracuse who were celebrating their entry into the Final Four. He would do the same the following year with the players from the University of Minnesota. The Minnesota players proclaimed they wanted to "Get down with Al!"
  • McGuire's broadcasting career was capped by a warm and poignant reunion less than a year before his death. When Dick Enberg joined CBS Sports in 2000 after a long career with NBC, McGuire was able to be reunited with Enberg and longtime CBS commentator Billy Packer. On Feb. 5, 2000, the trio called its final game together when Michigan State easily defeated UCONN 85-66. It was the first game the trio had called in nineteen year when Indiana defeated North Carolina for the 1981 NCAA National Championship game for NBC.

See also


  1. Kupper, Mike (March 26, 1974). "Warrior dream Wolfpacked away". Milwaukee Journal.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Kent, Milton (March 31, 1991). "Smith gets 2 T's, Carolina 1 L as Kansas wins 79-73". Baltimore Sun. p. 15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Marquette wins 1st NCAA title, 67 to 59 in McGuire's last game". Milwaukee Sentinel. March 29, 1977. Retrieved March 18, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Lea, Bud (March 28, 1977). "Fortune keeps beaming on surprising Warriors". Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved March 18, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Hagger, Jeff (March 7, 2016). "The unique Al McGuire - from TV sidekick to star". Classic TV Sports.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Litsky, Frank; Weber, Bruce (February 4, 2010), "Dick McGuire, a Fixture With the Knicks for More Than Half a Century, Dies at 84", The New York Times<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links