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Marquette University Alumni Association

Department of Intercollegiate Athletics

Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award

Maurice Bo H. EllisMAURICE "BO" H. ELLIS, SP '77

South Holland, Ill.

Bo Ellis is a Marquette sports legend, but his accomplishments off the hardwood mean much more to him. 

“To me, success is a good home life, good times with your family and achieving work-life balance,” he says. “It’s helping others accomplish their goals and making a difference in their lives.”

Bo’s oldest daughter Nicole, a 2000 Marquette graduate, died from a rare and uncommon liver disease three years after graduation. He and his wife, Candy, started the Nicole Ellis Foundation, which has supported nine students in the past three years with annual scholarships through the Ethnic Alumni Association. The foundation also has supported Marquette’s non-revenue sports, the Hank Raymonds Educational Center, the March of Dimes and the American Liver Foundation.

Bo, who currently does scouting for the Milwaukee Bucks, was captain of the 1977 men’s NCAA championship basketball team and was MVP in 1975 and ’77, during which time his teams were 101–18. He played for three years in the NBA and later in Europe and was inducted into the M Club Hall of Fame three times — with the 1974 NCAA runner-up team, with the ’77 national championship team and as an individual. He has received the NABC Merit Award, NABC All-American Silver Anniversary Award and NCAA Silver Anniversary Award. He also is a member of the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame. 

All honors aside, though, Bo believes in the power of youth and coaches kids on and off the court. “They are our future, and the guidance they receive will help them grow to be more responsible adults,” he says. “The individuals who educated, directed and touched my life showed they cared, and I want to share that with our youth of today.”

Bo is always available to help Marquette, assisting with fundraising and openly advocating that former players give back to the university.

Fun facts about Bo:
Hometown: Chicago
Favorite quote: “What counts most is what we do for others.”
Someone alive or dead he’d like to have dinner with: His father
The Marquette faculty members who had an impact on Bo: Coach Al McGuire and Coach Hank Raymonds
Favorite Marquette memory: His daughter Nicole’s graduation from Marquette in 2000 and watching her walk across the stage to receive her degree.
In grade school, Bo wanted to be a major league baseball player.
Most influential person in Bo’s life: His sixth-grade English teacher, Mr. Jackson