Frank McGuire
McGuire at St. John's
Biographical details
Born(1913-11-08)November 8, 1913
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedOctober 11, 1994(1994-10-11) (aged 80)
Columbia, South Carolina, U.S.
Playing career
1933–1936St. John's
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1947–1952St. John's
1952–1961North Carolina
1961–1962Philadelphia Warriors
1964–1980South Carolina
1948–1952St. John's
Head coaching record
Overall549–236 (college basketball)
67–30 (college baseball)
Accomplishments and honors
NCAA University Division tournament (1957)
2 NCAA Regional—Final Four (1952, 1957)
6 ACC regular season (1956, 1957, 1959–1961, 1970)
2 ACC tournament (1957, 1971)
UPI Coach of the Year (1957)
ACC Coach of the Year (1957, 1969)
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1977
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Frank Joseph McGuire (November 8, 1913 – October 11, 1994) was an American basketball coach. At the collegiate level, he was head coach for three major programs: St. John's, North Carolina, and South Carolina, winning over a hundred games at each.[1][2]

Early years

Born in New York City as the youngest of 13 children in an Irish-American family, to New York police officer,[3] Robert McGuire and his wife, the former Anne Lynch (his father died when Frank was only two years old). He attended Xavier High School graduating in 1933,[4] McGuire graduated from St. John's University in 1936, playing under head coach James "Buck" Freeman. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, interrupting his work as a teacher and coach at his high school. Prior to 1947 he also played pro basketball briefly in the American Basketball League.

St. John's

After Joe Lapchick left St. John's to coach the New York Knicks in 1947, McGuire became head basketball and baseball coach at his alma mater. He led the baseball team to the College World Series in 1949 and the basketball team to the Final Four in 1952 – becoming one of only three coaches to achieve both accomplishments.

North Carolina

In 1952, McGuire left St. John's to become basketball coach at the University of North Carolina. On paper, this was a significant step down from St. John's, as UNC was not reckoned as a national power at the time. However, school officials wanted a big-name coach to counter the rise of rival North Carolina State under Everett Case.

In his first season, McGuire briefly led the Tar Heels to their first appearance in a major poll, for two weeks in January and February 1953. After two middling seasons in the newly formed Atlantic Coast Conference, McGuire first made an impact in 1955, when his Tar Heels routed then-#5 Alabama 99-77. It was UNC's first defeat of a nonconference opponent ranked in the top 10 of a major media poll. They went on to share the ACC regular season title with N.C. State. A year later, McGuire guided North Carolina to an undefeated 32-0 season in 1956-57, capped off by winning the NCAA championship game 54-53 in triple overtime against the Wilt Chamberlain-led Kansas Jayhawks. McGuire's teams were built around a core of players from in and around New York City, such as Lennie Rosenbluth, Joe Quigg and Tommy Kearns.

In 1961, UNC was found guilty of major NCAA violations. Combined with rumors of point shaving by some UNC players, this led Chancellor William Aycock to force McGuire's resignation after the season. At McGuire's suggestion, Aycock named McGuire's top assistant, Dean Smith, as the new coach.[5][6]

Philadelphia Warriors

Soon after leaving North Carolina, McGuire became the head coach of the NBA's Philadelphia Warriors and coached Chamberlain during the Warriors' last season in the city. During this season, Chamberlain set his all-time record for scoring average in a season, of 50.4 points per game; additionally, this was the season in which Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single game. The team moved to San Francisco in 1962 and McGuire resigned rather than go west with the team.

South Carolina

Following his one season in the NBA, McGuire worked for two years in public relations in New York before returning to college basketball as head coach at the University of South Carolina in 1964. The Gamecocks achieved national prominence under McGuire in his sixth year, going undefeated in ACC play in 1970–one of only two times that an ACC team from the state of South Carolina has won a regular season title (the other being Clemson in 1990). The Gamecocks were denied an NCAA berth when they lost a controversial ACC championship game, in double overtime, to North Carolina State. In those days, only one team per conference was guaranteed a bid to the 25-team field. Ironically, the Gamecocks' home arena, Carolina Coliseum, hosted the NCAA East Regional that same year. The Gamecocks' 25 wins in 1970 were the most in school history until Frank Martin's 2016 team also won 25 games (Martin's 2017 Gamecocks broke the record, with 26 wins). McGuire's Gamecocks won the ACC tournament in 1971–to this day, the only ACC tourney title won by a school from the state of South Carolina.

The Gamecocks went independent in 1972, and McGuire would then go on to take the Gamecocks to three more NCAA Tournaments and two National Invitation Tournaments before being forced into retirement after the 1979-80 season. His 283 wins are by far the most in school history. The playing surface at the Gamecocks' former arena, Carolina Coliseum, is named Frank McGuire Arena in his honor. He is also an honorary brother of the Alpha Eta chapter of Phi Kappa Sigma at the University of South Carolina.


McGuire holds the record for most victories in a season without a loss, together with Bobby Knight of the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers, at 32-0.

He achieved the number one ranking with both the University of North Carolina and South Carolina, and is one of five coaches--John Calipari, Larry Brown, Roy Williams and Rick Pitino are the others—to take two different schools to the NCAA Finals. He is one of 15 coaches, as of 2021, to take multiple schools to the Final Four. The others are: Roy Williams, Lute Olson, Jack Gardner, Forddy Anderson, Larry Brown, Eddie Sutton, John Calipari, Rick Pitino, Gene Bartow, Hugh Durham, Lou Henson, Bob Huggins, Kelvin Sampson, and Lee Rose.

McGuire was famous for using his New York City ties to enlist players to come south to play at UNC and USC, and was known as one of the top recruiters in the sport, frequently joking about how successful his New York City players, many of them Jewish and Catholic, were in Baptist-prevalent North Carolina and South Carolina. McGuire recruited so many New York City players to UNC and USC that the talent pipeline from NYC to the Carolinas was commonly referred to as the McGuire New York City Railroad.

Players that he coached or successfully recruited at the two schools include Lennie Rosenbluth (UNC), Larry Brown (UNC), Donnie Walsh (UNC), Doug Moe (UNC), Billy Cunningham (UNC), Bobby Cremins (USC), John Roche (USC), Tom Owens (USC), Tom Riker (USC), Kevin Joyce (USC), Brian Winters (USC), Mike Dunleavy, Sr. (USC) and Alex English (USC).

After having been the first coach to take two different schools to the finals of the NCAA basketball tournament, in 1971 he became the second coach – joining Eddie Hickey – to take three different schools to the NCAA tournament. McGuire was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977, and retired in 1980.

He is the winningest coach in South Carolina history, and is still the third-winningest coach in North Carolina history. He died in Columbia, South Carolina.

He is not related to Marquette coach Al McGuire, who was a coaching contemporary of his. However, he did coach both Al and his brother Dick McGuire at St. John's.

Head coaching record

College basketball

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
St. John's Redmen (Metropolitan New York Conference) (1947–1952)
1947–48 St. John's 12–11 3–3 T–4th
1948–49 St. John's 15–9 5–1 T–1st NIT First Round
1949–50 St. John's 24–5 3–3 T–3rd NIT Third Place
1950–51 St. John's 26–5 6–0 1st NCAA Regional Third Place / NIT Third Place
1951–52 St. John's 25–6 6–0 1st NCAA Runner-up / NIT Quarterfinal
St. John's: 102–36 23–7
North Carolina Tar Heels (Southern Conference) (1952–1953)
1952–53 North Carolina 17–10 15–6 8th
North Carolina Tar Heels (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1953–1961)
1953–54 North Carolina 11–10 5–6 5th
1954–55 North Carolina 10–11 8–6 T–4th
1955–56 North Carolina 18–5 11–3 T–1st
1956–57 North Carolina 32–0 14–0 1st NCAA University Division champion
1957–58 North Carolina 19–7 10–4 T–2nd
1958–59 North Carolina 20–5 12–2 T–1st NCAA University Division First Round
1959–60 North Carolina 18–6 12–2 T–1st
1960–61 North Carolina 19–4 12–2 1st
North Carolina: 164–58 99–31
South Carolina Gamecocks (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1964–1971)
1964–65 South Carolina 6–17 2–12 8th
1965–66 South Carolina 11–13 4–10 T–6th
1966–67 South Carolina 16–7 8–4 3rd
1967–68 South Carolina 15–7 9–5 T–3rd
1968–69 South Carolina 21–7 11–3 2nd NIT Quarterfinal
1969–70 South Carolina 25–3 14–0 1st
1970–71 South Carolina 23–6 10–4 2nd NCAA University Division Sweet 16
South Carolina Gamecocks (Independent) (1971–1980)
1971–72 South Carolina 24–5 NCAA University Division Sweet 16
1972–73 South Carolina 22–7 NCAA University Division Sweet 16
1973–74 South Carolina 22–5 NCAA Division I First Round
1974–75 South Carolina 19–9 NIT Quarterfinal
1975–76 South Carolina 18–9
1976–77 South Carolina 14–12
1977–78 South Carolina 16–12 NIT First Round
1978–79 South Carolina 15–12
1979–80 South Carolina 16–11
South Carolina: 283–142 58–38
Total: 549–236

      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

College baseball

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
St. John's Redmen () (1948–1952)
1948 St. John's 9–5
1949 St. John's 21–6 College World Series
1950 St. John's 13–5
1951 St. John's 9–10
1952 St. John's 15–4
St. John's: 67–25
Total: 67–25

      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

See also


  1. ^ "McGuire chosen for hall of fame". Spartanburg Herald-Tribune. South Carolina. Associated Press. May 6, 1973. p. B1.
  2. ^ "Frank McGuire succumbs at 80". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. October 12, 1994. p. 6C.
  3. ^ Anderson, Dave (October 12, 1994). "McGuire was a basketball missionary". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. South Carolina. (New York Times). p. D3.
  4. ^ Goldaper, Sam (October 12, 1994). "Frank McGuire, 80, basketball coach, dies". New York Times.
  5. ^ Goldstein, Richard Dean Smith, Champion of College Basketball and of Racial Equality, Dies at 83 The New York Times. February 25, 2015
  6. ^ "'Frank McGuire resigns as basketball coach at UNC". Asheville Citizen-Times. August 3, 1961. p. 28. Retrieved May 1, 2021 – via Open access icon