Lessons of McGuire, Raymond and Majerus shaped new Bucks coach Boylan
By Chris Jenkins
Photo courtesy Milwaukee Bucks/NBAE
Even during his playing days at Marquette, Jim Boylan thought he might want to be a coach some day. And could you imagine a better trio of mentors than Al McGuire, Hank Raymonds and Rick Majerus?
Boylan, the point guard for Marquette’s 1977 national championship team, recently took over as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks after the team and Scott Skiles agreed to part ways. It’s Boylan’s second shot at an NBA head coaching job, after an interim head coaching stint with the Chicago Bulls during the 2007–08 season.
As he sets out to prove himself once again, he acknowledges the influence that his coaches at Marquette — he played for McGuire, who had Raymonds and Majerus as assistants, in 1976–77; Raymonds took over as head coach for the 1977–78 season — had on him as a player.
“When I was at Marquette, watching Al and Hank and Rick was really a great classroom,” Boylan says. “Because if you look at those three guys, they’re very, very different. And they brought different personalities to their coaching and a little bit different styles.”
When Boylan remembers McGuire, he thinks of competitiveness and toughness. With Raymonds, it’s his understanding of the organization and attention to detail it takes to prepare for a game that stood out. And when it comes to Majerus, passion is the trait Boylan remembers — along with Majerus’ willingness to do the grunt work.
“So that combination of those three people really had a great influence on shaping my philosophy of coaching,” Boylan says. “When I think back to that time, I really feel just so fortunate to have been around those three people. And then you throw in the fact that on top of that we won a national championship with that group, and it just makes everything that much more special.”
McGuire passed away in 2001 and Raymonds in 2010. Then Majerus died in December 2012 at the age of 64. Boylan — who attended the memorial service at Church of the Gesu on campus — still can’t believe he’s gone.
“It was hard,” Boylan says. “Rick was a guy that was always there at the right time. It was interesting because several people said that when they were eulogizing him. That he was always there at the right time, and it was amazing how he could do that. He would always call me at the right time. He was an amazing person, generous beyond belief, fun to be around. A knowledgeable, smart guy, could talk about any subject, was a well-versed person. It was sad. And he was so young. And you hate to see that happen. But I carry him in my heart and have fond memories.”
Boylan will coach the Bucks through the end of this season, and a shot at the playoffs remains a realistic possibility. Boylan plans to enjoy the ride — something he didn’t really do the first time he took over for Skiles, in Chicago.
“I was too stressed out about trying to resolve every little thing,” Boylan says. “And I couldn’t. And so that frustrated me. Instead of seeing the big picture, I focused in too much on the tiny details and it kind of restricted me. So when I took this job, I said I’m not going to let that happen. I’m going to enjoy it and see the big picture, and I’m going to coach my butt off and see what happens.”