Al McGuire
McGuire circa 1986
Personal information
Born(1928-09-07)September 7, 1928
Queens, New York, U.S.
DiedJanuary 26, 2001(2001-01-26) (aged 72)
Brookfield, Wisconsin, U.S.
Listed height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Listed weight180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
High schoolSt. John's Prep
(Brooklyn, New York)
CollegeSt. John's (1947–1951)
NBA draft1951: 6th round, 55th overall pick
Selected by the New York Knicks
Playing career1951–1955
PositionPoint guard
Number3, 16, 7
Coaching career1955–1977
Career history
As player:
19511954New York Knicks
1954–1955Baltimore Bullets
As coach:
1955–1957Dartmouth (assistant)
1957–1964Belmont Abbey
Career highlights and awards
As coach:
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Basketball Hall of Fame as coach
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006
Chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
In office
PresidentJimmy Carter
Preceded byJerry Apodaca
Succeeded byGeorge Allen

Alfred James McGuire (September 7, 1928 – January 26, 2001) was an American college basketball coach and broadcaster, the head coach at Marquette University from 1964 to 1977. He won a national championship in his final season at Marquette,[1] and was 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.[2][3]

Early life

McGuire played three years of basketball at St. John's Prep, then located in 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, with his hometown New York Knicks for three seasons, 1951–54. 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 then proceeded to foul the Celtics star on his next six trips down the court.

On September 17, 1954, the Knicks traded McGuire and Connie Simmons to the Baltimore Bullets for Ray Felix and Chuck Grigsby. McGuire rode the bench for the Bullets, playing just 98 minutes in ten games and scoring 23 points; actually, the record books don't even credit McGuire for those numbers. In late November, the NBA revoked the franchise of the 3–11 (and bankrupt) Bullets, and decided to wipe Baltimore's games away as if they had never been played, along with all individual statistics. Several ex-Bullets (including All-Star Frank Selvy) hooked on with other NBA teams, but McGuire (who had been sidelined by a leg injury) did not, ending his playing career.

Coaching career

McGuire began his coaching career as an assistant at Dartmouth College (1955–1957) for head coach 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 Milwaukee in 1964 where he enjoyed success, including the NIT Championship in 1970 and a Final Four appearance in 1974 against the eventual champion NC State Wolfpack. He also served as athletic director for the program starting in 1973.

His final assistant coaches were Hank Raymonds (hired in 1961) and Rick Majerus (hired in 1971), who became a successful college head coach. He cited them as the final key to the team's success in 1977, stating, "We worked because we didn't associate socially and our rhythms were different. Hank was the encyclopedia, the administrator, the rule book with solid basketball knowledge. Rick was the cousins sandwich, the guy to bridge the age gap with the players, the recruiter with a flair for modern-day basketball. I was the Houdini, who did his disappearing act. I know that 85 percent of me is buffalo chips, and the other 15 percent is rare talent. I'd say in that 15 percent, in the mental toughness, the media, keeping an eye on the elephant, not the mice, and extending the life of the extinct kiwi bird, which is nocturnal."

McGuire led Marquette to its only NCAA basketball championship in 1977, his final season as a head coach.[4] On December 17, 1976, McGuire stunned fans by announcing that he would retire as coach after the end of the current season,[5] to become vice chairman of Medalist Industries, effective May 1, 1977; he had served on the board of directors of the sporting goods firm for six years. North Carolina coach and friend Dean Smith had stated that McGuire never intended to be a "lifer" as a coach. [6][7] McGuire was an executive with the company for less than a year, resigning on March 20, 1978.[8][9] For the entire tournament, Maguire would wear a black sport coat and gray pants that he believed was lucky. Marquette's team, led by Alfred "Butch" Lee, Maurice "Bo" Ellis and Jerome Whitehead would have a run that Maguire later referred to as "the magical weekend", which saw Whitehead receive a full-court pass and subsequently made a last-second shot to propel Marquette past UNC Charlotte in the national semifinals. Two days later, they defeated Dean Smith's North Carolina Tar Heels for the title. Ranked sixteenth, Marquette had seven losses going into the NCAA tournament, the most losses up to that time for a team that would win the NCAA Championship.[4][10] The thrilling weekend in Atlanta's Omni Coliseum provided a happy sendoff.[11] Maguire was succeeded by his assistant Hank Raymonds, who in turn was succeeded by Majerus in 1983; Marquette would not reach another Final Four until 2003.

While at Marquette, McGuire founded "Al's Run," a charity event for the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. The race celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017.[12]

Broadcasting career

McGuire in 1980

After coaching and a brief stint in business, McGuire became a popular commentator for NBC Sports[13] and CBS Sports. McGuire's on-air banter with 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 against Magic Johnson, which is remembered as a game that vastly enhanced the appeal of college basketball. Reflecting on the event ten years later, McGuire said that the 1979 title game in Salt Lake City "put college basketball on its afterburner." That national championship game remains the highest-rated NCAA Final broadcast. He announced his retirement from broadcasting after calling a matchup between Wisconsin and Indiana on March 5, 2000.[14]

Pine Bluff Incident

On February 12, 1984, McGuire was broadcasting the Arkansas Razorbacks upset victory over the undefeated and #1 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels led by Michael Jordan. As time expired, the Tar Heels missed the game winning shot, losing their first game of the season. However, McGuire inexplicably shouted “It’s good!” while the shot was in the air. After the shot was missed, McGuire was embarrassed and silent, even though the huge upset warranted excitement and description from the broadcast team. Arkansas fans were angry over this errant call. [15]


After a long bout with leukemia, McGuire died at age 72 in 2001 in Brookfield, Wisconsin.[2][3]


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.[16] 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 Coach portrayed by actor Cotter Smith.

It debuted at Marquette University's Helfaer Theater in 2005, and returned there by popular demand in 2006. The play 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 subsequently was seen at Central Michigan University, Dick Enberg's alma mater on October 10, 2008. A benefit performance for the San Diego Chargers was presented on November 12, 2008.

From January to June 2017, the play entitled "McGuire" was presented by the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, starring Tony Award winner Anthony Crivello. That run broke all box office records for the space, playing to 'sold-out' houses in the 150 seat Stackner Cabaret. Crivello received critical praise for his work in the show, and won 2017 Wisconsin Footlights Award for "Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play."[17][18][19][20][21][22]

A five-minute presentation of the show was presented at the 2017 Wisconsin Sports Award on May 20, 2017, at the University Of Wisconsin Field House.

The audience included All-Pro Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, All-Pro Green Bay Packers LT David Bahktieri and noted sports figures including Green Bay Packers players Jason Spriggs, Kyle Murphy, former Packer player Mark Tauscher, Milwaukee Brewers player Jonathan Villar, Milwaukee Bucks player Jabari Parker, UW head women's basketball coach Jonathan Tsipis, former University of Wisconsin Milwaukee head men's basketball coach and current Butler head coach Lavall Jordan, Marquette University head men's basketball coach Steve Wojceichowski, UW head men's basketball coach Greg Gard, executives and broadcasters Bill "Rock" Schroeder, Steve "The Homer" True, Tim Van Vooren from ESPN, FOX Sports Wisconsin, Major League Baseball, Good Karma Broadcasting founder Milwaukee's ESPN Radio owner Craig Karmazin, top male and female athletes from Wisconsin, Marquette University, UW Green Bay, UW Milwaukee, Marquette University athletic director Bill Scholl, Wisconsin women's volleyball HOF 2017 athlete of the year Lauren Carlini, Wisconsin men's basketball players including Zack Showalter, athletic director/ NCAA HOF former head football coach Barry Alvarez.[23]

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.

Career playing statistics

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high



Regular season

1951–52 New York 59 13.4 .431 .525 2.1 1.8 3.5
1952–53 New York 58 21.2 .390 .637 2.9 2.5 6.1
1953–54 New York 64 13.3 .328 .436 1.9 1.6 2.7
1954–55 Baltimore 10 9.8 .281 .714 .9 .8 2.3
Career 191 15.5 .379 .551 2.2 1.9 4.0


1952 New York 13 16.0 .392 .741 1.3 1.1 4.6
1953 New York 7 8.9 .214 .000 1.0 1.3 .9
1954 New York 4 17.3 .444 .222 1.0 1.8 4.5
Career 24 14.1 .373 .512 1.2 1.3 3.5

Head coaching record

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Postseason
Belmont Abbey Crusaders (Independent) (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 University Division Regional Third Place
1968–69 Marquette 24–5 NCAA University Division Regional Runner-up
1969–70 Marquette 26–3 NIT Champion
1970–71 Marquette 28–1 NCAA University Division Regional Third Place
1971–72 Marquette 25–4 NCAA University Division Regional Fourth Place
1972–73 Marquette 25–4 NCAA University Division Regional Third Place
1973–74 Marquette 26–5 NCAA Division I Runner-up
1974–75 Marquette 23–4 NCAA Division I First Round
1975–76 Marquette 27–2 NCAA Division I Elite Eight
1976–77 Marquette 25–7 NCAA Division I Champion
Marquette: 295–80 (.787)
Total: 404–143 (.739)

      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

Coaching accomplishments

Broadcasting experience

See also


  1. ^ McDermott, Barry (April 4, 1977). "Al, you went out in style". Sports Illustrated. p. 21.
  2. ^ a b Kupper, Mike (January 27, 2001). "Time rans out for McGuire". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). (Los Angeles Times). p. 2D.
  3. ^ a b "Renowned coach McGuire dies". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. January 27, 2001. p. 4B.
  4. ^ a b "Marquette wins 1st NCAA title, 67 to 59 in McGuire's last game". Milwaukee Sentinel. March 29, 1977. Retrieved March 18, 2011.
  5. ^ Jaynes, Roger (December 18, 1976). "McGuire wanted change". Milwaukee Journal. p. 17.
  6. ^ "McGuire will resign". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). wire services. December 18, 1976. p. 2B.
  7. ^ "Vet coach to retire". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. December 18, 1976. p. 13.
  8. ^ Ray Glier (April 1, 2007). "McGuire Won a Title, then Walked Away". The New York Times.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Lea, Bud (March 28, 1977). "Fortune keeps beaming on surprising Warriors". Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved March 18, 2011.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Briggs & Al's Run & Walk: Al McGuire's legacy". Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  13. ^ Hagger, Jeff (March 7, 2016). "The unique Al McGuire – from TV sidekick to star". Classic TV Sports.
  14. ^
  15. ^ #15 Arkansas vs. #1 North Carolina 2/12/1984 "IT'S GOOD!", retrieved February 12, 2023
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ "Anthony Crivello is treetops in 'McGuire'". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  18. ^ "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  19. ^ "Takeaways: Milwaukee Rep's 'McGuire'". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  20. ^ "The Rep's "McGuire" takes the mask off a legendary Milwaukee hero". Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  21. ^ Dunigan, Peggy Sue. "BWW Review: Marquette Basketball and MCGUIRE Captivate Milwaukee at Rep's Stackner Cabaret". Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  22. ^ Noth, Dominique Paul. "Theater: Crivello Makes Al McGuire Come Alive". Urban Milwaukee. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  23. ^ "Box". Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  24. ^ "Alfred McGuire NBA stats". Basketball Reference. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved August 16, 2023.