Besides head coach Al McGuire, the key to the 1977 Marquette team was an inside-out combo of Butch Lee at point guard and 6’9” Bo Ellis at forward. They were supplemented by sophomore forward Bernard Toone, post man Jerome Whitehead and role players Bill Neary, who hit the boards and guard Jim Boylan who could shoot from the outside.
Marquette defeated Cincinnati, Kansas State, Wake Forest and Charlotte before facing off against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the National Championship game. Marquette 67- UNC 59.
Afterwards McGuire sat on the bench, buried his head in his hands and cried. It was his last game as a coach.
“He was a rare bird, eccentric,” Bobby Cremins said of Al McGuire. “I think that championship was an unlikely national championship. I asked him once about leaving, and he looked me in the eye and said he would have stayed and capitalized on that national championship.”
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