"You could just see the coach sizzle," says a player who was there. "He's the owner," says McGuire of the incident. "I didn't get angry. I told Gotty the team had no offense yet and no defense. We would work on those first. As a matter of fact, we had a pretty good out-of-bounds play." The implication was that this was McGuire's business.
The exhibition schedule took the team on to Terre Haute, Ind. for another game against the Hawks. The Warriors had by then learned a little college-type pregame drill, led by Chamberlain, that the crowds liked. In games they were passing more often and more effectively, Chamberlain was feeding the ball to other players repeatedly, forcing the opposition to be watchful, and the college spirit remained. "Their attitude is 100% better than a year ago," said a man who follows the Warriors regularly.
In the first half of the game at Terre Haute there was a brief relapse to 1960's listless play. At half time McGuire, his Irish dander up for the first time since he joined the team, told the players they had embarrassed him. He said they made him sick to watch. That if they didn't want to play they should just quit. The Warriors returned to beat the Hawks by 20 points.
There was joking and singing in the locker room after the game. "Look at them," said McGuire, as if making a discovery that was going to help him. Just like any bunch of college kids."
After the game Paul Arizin, who at 33 has played nine years in the NBA, and Ed Conlin, a six-year veteran, told McGuire they were going out for a beer. McGuire started to protest, then seemed to remember where he was. (In 1955 he bounced two players off his North Carolina squad because somebody had seen them drinking a beer.) McGuire took the moment to tell all the players that he had arranged for cabs at 8:45 the next morning to pick up those who wanted to go to church. Almost all of the Warriors went, undoubtedly surprised by McGuire's solicitude on this score. "I've always encouraged players to go to church," he said later.
"I think I'll get the team blazers and slacks as a travel uniform," he said after church that Sunday. "We had them at Carolina, and we made a good impression wherever we were. My players always looked their best. They knew they'd catch hell if they didn't." The prospect of pros wearing blazers seemed strange. "I've talked to Wilt about it," said McGuire. "He doesn't see anything wrong with it. It will help them save their own clothes, too." (McGuire was once honored by the Barbers of America as one of America's 10 best-groomed men.)
An hour later the team was loading on a bus to go to the airport. "I said 11:30 and look at that Chamberlain," said McGuire. "Not only on time, but early. You know, he's always five minutes early. I appreciate that." Warriors who were not on time were fast learning that McGuire has a schoolmasterish respect for minutes, and a special disapproval of oversleeping. "Sleep is overrated," he said. "My mother, rest her soul, used to say she'd be a long time sleeping when she was dead."
Alone and irritated
If the team was rather happily learning McGuire's ways, however, the coach himself was less serene. The only non-playing Warrior on the trip, he had no one to help him with a dozen details. He was calling cabs and finding restaurants and arranging room lists and paying bills and getting baggage checks—and getting mad.
Each morning he sent postcards home. Each afternoon he sent a letter. Each night he telephoned his wife. "Only 92 more games to go," he told her once. And because he insists on not being chummy with his players, he was quite alone, and lonely. "Mr. McGuire's kind of down," said Wilt Chamberlain, who can be a discerning and sympathetic man, as well as one who knows what it means to be alone and kind of down.