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Cracked Sidewalks and French Pastry
The Wit and Wisdom of Al McGuire
Tom Kertscher

"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 was a cracked sidewalk."—Al McGuire

Al McGuire was the Will Rogers of college basketball. Never was there a figure in the game so quoted and so quotable, on sports and on the human condition. This book collects more than a hundred of McGuire's most colorful quotations, plus photographs from his life and career, in a tribute that is funny, poignant, and brimming with his streetwise sagacity.

McGuire, a brash and fiery New Yorker who grew up working in his parents' saloon, played a rough and tumble game of basketball at St. John's University and briefly in the NBA before entering the coaching ranks. He reached the pinnacle of his profession and gained national fame at Marquette University in Milwaukee, where in thirteen seasons he compiled a 295-80 record, appeared in nine NCAA tournaments, and won eighty-one home games in a row. He was a fine coach who cared deeply about his players and was beloved by his teams and fans alike, but his flamboyance and his mouth sometimes got him into trouble. The end of his coaching career captivated the nation: McGuire wept on the bench as his Marquette Warriors won the national title.

McGuire then began a ground-breaking career in network broadcasting, adding a zest and unconventionality that the college game had never seen. His sometimes bizarre and always entertaining commentary kept viewers tuned in even after the outcome of a lopsided game was a foregone conclusion. When Al McGuire died of leukemia in 2001, the sports world lost a true original.

"Tom Kertscher's book—both words and pictures—helps shed additional light on the complex, complicated, and intelligent man that was Al McGuire."—Dean Smith, coach of the University of North Carolina Tarheels, who lost the 1977 national championship game to Marquette

Tom Kertscher grew up in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, about twenty miles north of Milwaukee and the campus of Marquette University. As a teenager, he followed Al McGuire and the Marquette Warriors, especially during the 1977 national championship season. After getting a B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he worked on newspapers in Oklahoma, Illinois, and California, and earned a Master's degree in journalism from Ohio State. He now lives near Milwaukee and works as a local news reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. His four-year-old daughter, Hailey, attended her first Marquette basketball game at the age of two.

A press kit for Tom Kertscher's book is available for those in the media.

There is a site devoted to Al McGuire and Tom Kertscher's book at www.

For Sports Illustrated's column on Kertscher's book see Sports Illustrated's archives.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

October 2002

144 pp.    8 x 10 
8 color photos, 62 b/w photos

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