Al McGuire (September 7, 1928 – January 26, 2001) was an American college basketball coach and broadcaster….who was the head coach at Marquette University from 1964 to 1977…..where he won a national championship in his final season at Marquette…..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.
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….where he became the first coach ejected from a championship game.
With assistant coaches Hank Raymonds, who would succeed him at Marquette….along with Rick Majerus, who became a successful college head coach…..McGuire led Marquette to its only NCAA basketball championship in 1977….which was his final season as a head coach…..with a team led by Alfred “Butch” Lee, Maurice “Bo” Ellis and Jerome Whitehead….which would defeat 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….thus propelling Marquette past UNC Charlotte in the national semifinals. Ranked 16th in the country….Marquette had seven losses going into the NCAA tournament….which was the most losses up to that time for a team that would win the NCAA Championship.
While at Marquette, McGuire founded “Al’s Run”….which was a charity event for the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin….as the race will celebrate its 42nd anniversary in 2019.
After coaching, McGuire became a popular commentator for NBC Sports and CBS Sports…..where McGuire’s on-air banter with colleague Billy Packer helped increase the popularity of college basketball across the United States. Al 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 ten years later, McGuire said that the 1979 title game in Salt Lake City “put college basketball on its afterburner”….as that national championship game remains the highest-rated NCAA Final broadcast of all time.