| Wins against Kentucky - 2 | Losses against Kentucky - 12 |
Alma Mater: St. Johns 
Hometown: New York, NY
Date Born: November 8, 1916
Date Died: November 11, 1994
Overall Record: 549-236 [30 Seasons]
|12/10/1979||South Carolina at Kentucky||W||126 - 81||-|
|2/25/1979||Kentucky at South Carolina||W||79 - 74||-|
|12/12/1977||South Carolina at Kentucky||W||84 - 65||-|
|12/13/1976||Kentucky at South Carolina||W||98 - 67||-|
|12/23/1967||South Carolina at Kentucky||W||76 - 66||UKIT Championship|
|12/13/1960||Kentucky vs. North Carolina||W||70 - 65||(at Greensboro, NC)|
|12/18/1959||North Carolina at Kentucky||W||76 - 70||UKIT|
|3/22/1952||Kentucky vs. St. Johns||L||57 - 64||NCAA East Regional Finals (at Raleigh, NC)|
|12/17/1951||St. Johns at Kentucky||W||81 - 40||-|
|3/22/1951||Kentucky vs. St. Johns||W||59 - 43||NCAA East Regional Semifinals (at New York, NY)|
|12/23/1950||Kentucky at St. Johns||W||43 - 37||(at New York, NY)|
|12/15/1949||Kentucky at St. Johns||L||58 - 69||(at New York, NY)|
|12/18/1948||Kentucky at St. Johns||W||57 - 30||(at New York, NY)|
|12/23/1947||Kentucky at St. Johns||W||52 - 40||(at New York, NY)|
Biography - Louisville Courier Journal (December 11, 1979)
Lexington Ky. -- He grew up in New York City, the son of an Irish cop, and he began coaching basketball at St. John's University, in Queens, in 1947-48. The best team in the country that season was Adolph Rupp's "Fabulous Five" at the University of Kentucky. Frank McGuire remembers it well.
"I left our pre-game meal a few minutes ago, and I told the kids I had a date with Wah Wah Jones," McGuire said yesterday before his last South Carolina team fell to Kentucky 126-81. They just laughed. They think these names are fictitious. But what a rebounder Wah Wah Jones was. He'd kill you.
In 29 seasons as a college coach at St. John's, North Carolina and South Carolina, McGuire, 66, has just about seen and done it all. His 1957 North Carolina team went unbeaten, but needed three overtimes to subdue Wilt Chamberlain and Kansas in the NCAA final.
Later, of course, McGuire coached Chamberlain for a season, 1962-63, in the National Basketball Association. That was the year Chamberlain averaged 50.4 points and scored 100 in a single game. Nevertheless, the Philadelphia Warriors were beaten, as usual, by the Boston Celtics in the playoffs.
After two seasons out of coaching, McGuire accepted the South Carolina job in 1964 and has been there ever since. His best Gamecock team went 25-3 in 1969-70 and perhaps failed to win the national championship only because star guard John Roche suffered an ankle injury in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
That team had as much talent as my '57 North Carolina team," McGuire said yesterday, "but you have to have the breaks, too. when we won it in '57, we had six overtimes in two nights when we reached the Final Four.
And now, finally, McGuire is being forced out of the game to which he has devoted most of his adult life. The powers that be at South Carolina apparently think the game has passed him by. If it has, you can't tell it by spending a few minutes with him. His hair still is more red than gray, his memory still clear.
With McGuire gone, only DePaul's Ray Meyer will be left to remind everyone of the college game's glorious past, of the days when Rupp and UK ruled supreme and New York's Madison Square Garden was every player's dream. McGuire's St. John's team played the "Fabulous Five" (Jones, Alex Groza, Ralph Beard, Kenny Rollins and Cliff Barker) in the old Garden on several occasions.
"The old Garden -- there was nothing like it," McGuire said. "It was sensational. People were lined up out in the streets, but you couldn't buy a ticket. And, of course, Kentucky was always a big draw. Kentucky back then was the only team that could go on the road and win."
The Garden crowds loved the duels between Groza and Bob Zawoluk of St. John's in the pivot and between the feisty Beard and Al McGuire's brother, Dick, out on the floor. And, of course, the battle of wits between McGuire and Rupp.
"Kentucky teams under Rupp would play tenacious defense and a disciplined offense," McGuire said. "I loved Rupp. He was a great man. We always got along because I was never jealous of him. He beat my ass, but that doesn't make you dislike a guy."
McGuire values a victory over UK almost as much as he values the 1957 NCAA championship game. It came in the 1952 NCAA Eastern Regional at Raleigh, N.C.
"We had played them in Lexington earlier in the season," McGuire said. "I'll never forget that before we left Grand Central Station, a friend of mine from United Press told me that we were ranked No. 1 in the polls and Kentucky was No. 2.
"Well, we went to Lexington, and they beat us 81-40. I think I hid for two days. I told the players just to tell everyone that they had lost to one of the best teams they had ever seen. That was the team that had Cliff Hagan, Frank Ramsey, Lou Tsioropoulos, Bobby Watson, that bunch.
"We met them again in the Eastern Regional, and frankly, I was scared to play them a second time. But our kids were embarrassed by what happened in Lexington, and we beat 'em. I remember the fans cheered for us instead of Kentucky, even though Kentucky was from the South. I guess they looked at Rupp as a rival to Everett Case, the N.C. State coach.
"That game was the reason they came after me at North Carolina."
When McGuire left St. John's for North Carolina, everyone was surprised. With his New York Irish background, he seemed a natural for St. John's. And he had the best talent in the country at his fingertips.
But what a lot of people didn't know was that McGuire's first wife, Pat, had given birth to a son who had cerebral palsy. He, more than anything, is why McGuire went to Chapel Hill. And he also is why McGuire went to South Carolina.
"In New York,it was tough when you have a kid like that," McGuire said. "At places like North Carolina and South Carolina, I could have a pool at home for therapy and things like that. You have to be wealthy to have the same things in New York.
His family is why McGuire quit coaching in 1963 instead of following Chamberlain and the Warriors to San Francisco.
"It was wonderful, but I was lonesome," McGuire said. "In those days I had no trainer, no assistant. I traveled alone. I can remember being in Cincinnati on Christmas Day and wanting to be home. I could hear those Santa Claus bells under my hotel windows. Oh, Jesus. That was not a life with a son like mine."
In 1967, a couple of years after McGuire went to South Carolina, his wife died of cancer. He remarried five years later. Today, McGuire devotes a lot of time to his son, Frank Jr., and his six grandchildren.
At both North Carolina and South Carolina, McGuire took advantage of his contacts in New York to develop an "underground railroad" that brought talent from the city's playgrounds to the South. Many of McGuire's best players - Roche, Lenny Rosenbluth, Tom Riker, Tommy Kearns, Kevin Joyce, Brian Winters -- are from the New York area. He has five New Yorkers on his current team.
On his last trip to Kentucky as a coach, McGuire seemed to enjoy reminiscing about old friends and old games, about the men he has known and the things he has seen.
"I've seen so many arenas in the last 30 years," he said. "You know, I'd like to walk over and look at that other arena (Memorial Coliseum). I remember bringing a lot of teams to Lexington, and you know, I've never seen a team run with Kentucky here and beat them. The name "Wildcats' fits Kentucky."
Obituary - New York Times (October 12, 1994)
Frank McGuire, 80, Basketball Coach, Dies
by Sam Goldaper
Frank McGuire, who helped popularize the game in the South after developing a pipeline that transported big-city high school basketball stars to the region, died yesterday at his home in Columbia, S.C.
He was 80 years old, and had been in failing health since suffering a severe stroke two years ago, officials at the University of South Carolina said.
A New York City native who began his college coaching career at St. John's, Mr. McGuire was one of only two coaches to take two different college teams to the National Collegiate Athletic Association final: His 1952 St. John's team lost to Kansas, while his 1957 North Carolina team defeated a Kansas team featuring Wilt Chamberlain.
(Larry Brown, whom Mr. McGuire coached at North Carolina, is the other coach to take two different teams to the Final -- with U.C.L.A. in 1980 and Kansas in 1988.
In 30 years of coaching college basketball, at St. John's, North Carolina and South Carolina, Mr. McGuire posted a 550-235 record and played in 22 post-season tournaments. He also coached the Philadelphia Warriors during the 1961-62 season, when Chamberlain scored 4,029 points and averaged 50.4 points a game, both National Basketball Association records. In 1977, he was elected to the National Basketball Hall of Fame.
Mr. McGuire once recalled his experience after his St. John's team lost to Kansas in 1952. "After the gun went off, everybody mobbed the Kansas players and there we were -- me and 12 basketball players," he said. "We were second in the United States. But we might as well have been 50th. It was a lesson."
The lesson was that it is better to be first. The following season he moved on to North Carolina. There, he began the process of importing New York players to the Chapel Hill school, building a basketball following that helped fuel the wild popularity currently enjoyed by the region's Atlantic Coast Conference.
Five years after arriving, Mr. McGuire finished first when North Carolina, with a starting five of all New Yorkers, defeated Kansas for the title in triple overtime.
Francis Joseph McGuire, the 13th child of a New York City policeman, was born on Nov. 8, 1913, in Greenwich Village. He attended St. Francis Xavier High School, where he later taught history and coached for 11 seasons.
A four-letter man at St. John's, from where he graduated in 1936, Mr. McGuire returned to his alma mater in 1947 to begin a career that would make him a coaching legend by the time he left South Carolina after the 1980-81 season. He was also the St. John's baseball coach when the Redmen went to the 1949 College World Series.
After compiling a 103-35 five-year basketball coaching record at St. John's, Mr. McGuire left New York in 1953 to become the North Carolina coach.
"When I got to North Carolina," Mr. McGuire once said, "there was little or no interest in college basketball there. Everybody was a football fan."
The story goes that when Mr. McGuire arrived at North Carolina, he sat, arms folded, calmly watching his team being routed. At his side was Buck Freeman, his longtime assistant. At one point, Mr. Freeman reportedly said: "Frank, they're killing us. What are we going to do?"
"Get better players," Mr. McGuire told him.
So was born the "underground railroad," through which Mr. McGuire recruited New York talent and brought it to Chapel Hill. The 1957 team, which won all of its 32 games and the N.C.A.A. title, consisted of an all-New York starting five: Lennie Rosenbluth, Pete Brennan, Tommy Kearns, Joe Quigg and Bob Cunningham.
Explaining his recruiting of New York-area talent, Mr. McGuire said: "I believe we know more about basketball in New York. Even the players are better. A kid has to dodge and fake just to get on the subway. It makes him a good feinter just to walk on the streets.
"At St. John's, it was simple to recruit. I'd just get on the subway and see the coaches I knew and I'd get the players. It was no different when I got to North Carolina. There, I'd just jump on a plane after every practice. I logged more miles than anybody and it paid off. We got the players."
Mr. McGuire compiled a 164-58 record at North Carolina before leaving to become the general manager and coach of the Philadelphia Warriors.
"I had a couple of fancy titles," Mr. McGuire once said, "but let me tell you, I was also the traveling secretary, the ticket agent and a lot of other things. I spent almost as much time trying to get my team transported from one game to another as I did coaching."
The job lasted only one year. After the Boston Celtics eliminated the Warriors in the Eastern Division final, the franchise was sold and moved to San Francisco. Mr. McGuire decided to stay behind and in the spring of 1964, he became the coach at South Carolina, where in 16 seasons his teams won 283 games and lost 142.
By the time he left coaching, he had been named national Coach of the Year at three different colleges. Many of the players he coached or assistants he tutored went on to make their mark in the game, including Lou Carnesecca, later the St. John's coach; Dean Smith, an assistant to Mr. McGuire at North Carolina, and Bobby Cremins, who played for Mr. McGuire at South Carolina and is now the coach of Georgia Tech. He also coached Donnie Walsh, Doug Moe, Al and Dick McGuire (no relation) and Billy Cunningham.
Mr. McGuire was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977.
He is survived by his wife, Jane; three children by a previous marriage, Patricia Jeanne Ventling of Corpus Christi, Tex.; Frank Jr. of Columbia, and Carol Ann Morgan of Columbia, and six grandchildren.
Return to statistics, team schedules, team rosters, opponents, players, coaches, opposing coaches, games, assistance, Kentucky Basketball Page or search this site.