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Saturday, December 12, 2009


We recently hired Craig Pintens to take over the LSU Athletic Marketing and Promotions Department. In a short time, Craig has done an incredible job for all our teams. He came here from Marquette and a couple of conversations soon lead to discussions of Al McGuire. A few days later Craig stopped by with a book that is full of thoughts and quotes from one of the most charismatic coaches in the history of sport. The book is amazing and here are just a few of the "wit and wisdom of Al McGuire."

“A team should be an extension of a coach’s personality. My teams are arrogant and obnoxious.”

“My rule was I wouldn’t recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house. That’s not my world. My world has a cracked sidewalk.”

“I don’t discuss basketball. I dictate basketball. I’m not interested in philosophy classes.”

“My era is over. Dictator coaches are finished. I was good for the ‘burn, baby, burn’ atmosphere. It’s time now for coaches who sit in dens.”

“I don’t believe in looking past anybody. I wouldn’t look past the Little Sisters of the Poor after they stayed up all night.”

“I’m not saying that they were Einsteins; they were marginal students. But every ballplayer whoever touched me has moved up his station in life. And the players moved up my station.”

“If a player leaves Marquette and doesn’t have some of my blood in him, then I don’t think I’ve done a good job.”

“It’s a profession in which, the longer you stay, the closer you are to being fired.”

“If winning weren’t important nobody would keep score.”
Once while coaching at Belmont Abbey College, McGuire handed his sports coat to an official and said, “Here, take this…you’ve taken everything else from me tonight.”

“The people who know basketball, their elevators don’t go to the top.”

“If you haven’t broken your nose in basketball , you haven’t really played. You’ve just tokened it.”

“If the waitress has dirty angles, the chili is good.”

“It’s so ridiculous to see a golfer with a one-foot putt and everybody say, “shhh, and not moving a muscle. Then we allow a nineteen-year-old kid to face a game-deciding free throw with seventeen thousand people yelling.”

“Life is what you allow yourself not to see.”

“Every obnoxious fan has a wife at home who dominates him.”

“The only mystery in life is why kamikaze pilots wore helmets.”

“There’s always going to be problems, and I feel the greater the problems for a generation the great that generation is going to be.”

“Help one kid at a time. He’ll maybe go back and help a few more. In a generation, you’ll have something.”

“When I’m losing, they call me nuts. When I’m winning, they call me eccentric.”

“I always wanted to sit in the front seats on the bus. I always wanted to be called ‘Coach.’ Those were the only two things that were important to me.”

When legendary University of Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp called McGuire ‘son’ during the 1968-69 NCAA tournament, the young upstart McGuire shot back: “Don’t call me son unless you’re going to include me in your will.”

“The next time I will cry is when I die. My life has been that beautiful.”

From “Cracked Sidewalks and French Pastry: The Wit and Wisdom of Al McGuire
By Tom Kertscher