Coach Al McGuire

I didn’t know him when I was a student at Marquette.  It wasn’t until several years later – after he had won the NCAA championship – that we worked together on some video projects. But even then, spending time with him was “sea shells and balloons” as Al put it.

We produced spots for Al’s Run, shot interviews with Al and his wife Pat, created an NBC halftime show with Coach as the star, chased him in a camera helicopter as he rode his motorcycle over the Hoan Bridge, and much more.

And every project was an adventure.

The NBC halftime show was shot at Medalist Sand-Knit, which made basketball uniforms in Berlin, WI, Looking back, it’s possible there was a slight conflict of interest because Al owned a piece of the company. But hey it was a good story anyway – and he made it better by delivering the on-camera close while sitting on one of the factory’s conveyor belts – gliding toward the lens.

Working with him was one thing, but what we really enjoyed were the impromptu visits.  Our office at the time was on his route between the airport and his house.  I think he often needed to decompress a little on his way home, so he’d drop by to talk. And boy could he talk. We’d see his motorcycle pull up out front at noon and, hours later, everyone was gone for the day except for my partner George and me – and Al continued to hold court.

You had to concentrate intently on the conversation to make sense of it. And even then I often left unsure of what the topic had been.

But we’ll always remember the unique Christmas gifts.  One year I was a little surprised to receive a few of his used neckties but my favorite Christmas was the one when he came walking in with a big wheel of cheese and a knife.  He cut off a wedge for each of us in the office that day, wished us happy holidays and headed off.  There will never be another Al McGuire.

Check out this 1985 video clip to hear some classic Al as he talks about the “two dollar bettors” and “the guy that rides the bus and drinks a glass of beer.”

Al McGuire on stage of video production

Al addressing the crowd after one of Al’s Runs.

Al McGuire on set of corporate video production services

Al McGuire at Medalist Sand Knit shooting an NBC halftime show.

1983 public service announcement for Al’s Run.