Al McGuire, the charismatic New Yorker who brought his streetwise lingo to the broadcast booth after coaching Marquette U. to a national championship, died of a blood disorder Friday in Milwaukee. He was 72.
McGuire was one of college basketball’s most successful coaches for 20 years, leading Marquette to 11 postseason appearances, capped with an NCAA title in 1977.
He joined NBC that same year, and his constant banter with fellow analyst Billy Packer became a staple for college basketball fans. “McGuireisms” such as “tap city,” “white knuckler” and “aircraft carrier” became part of the sport’s vocabulary.
He moved to CBS for the 1992 NCAA tournament and worked for the net until his retirement last March. When he retired, McGuire said he had a form of anemia but was not more specific.
“We lost a giant and a genuis,” said CBS announcer Dick Enberg, a longtime friend and colleague. “Al was the most unique and incredible person I ever met. He saw life at a different angle than the rest of us.”
McGuire is survived by his wife, Patricia; two sons and a daughter; six grandchildren; and a brother.