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New coach, same old success
Peter Gammons
January 30, 1978
Under Hank Raymonds, it has been winning—14-1—as usual at Marquette
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January 30, 1978

New Coach, Same Old Success

Under Hank Raymonds, it has been winning—14-1—as usual at Marquette

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The motorcycle is gone, but out back of the Marquette athletic offices the T-Bird is still in its place. The Warriors switched from flamboyant Al McGuire to professional Hank Raymonds, but all the defending national champions seem to have lost in the transition is a Kawasaki. The coach's T-Bird was handed down, as was this season's designated star, Guard Butch Lee, and a winning tradition that has continued with 14 victories in 15 games so far this season. "People said our performance in the NCAAs last year was a fairy tale, all Ai McGuire and emotion," Lee says. "Well, Marquette basketball is bigger than one person. What's happening here this year should prove that to anyone who shrugged our national championship off as a fluke."

Given McGuire's accomplishments and eccentricities, Raymonds, who had established an identity of his own in Milwaukee—albeit a subdued one—gave no thought to out-McGuiring McGuire. Al is New York, Hank is Midwest—St. Louis, where he was Easy Ed Macauley's teammate on St. Louis University's 1948 NIT champions and an outfielder who played American Legion ball against a couple of guys named Berra and Garagiola before a brief stay in the minors. McGuire was born to be on the streets at night, while Raymonds is a teacher, who fiddles with his hearing aid and responds "Wide-open basketball" when someone says " Las Vegas." "We were friends, but not drinking buddies," says McGuire. "At five Hank went home, and I went out." That may explain why, in his 13 years as McGuire's assistant, Raymonds never dined at the boss' home.

McGuire eschewed blackboards and skipped practices to ride off by himself. Raymonds arrives at his office by 7:30 a.m. and takes basketball so seriously that once while watching a game film, he blew his whistle to stop the play. He came to Marquette in the fall of 1961 after 12 years of high school and small-college coaching with the idea of succeeding another of the Warriors' legendary coaches. Eddie Hickey. But when Hickey resigned in 1964, McGuire got his job, and Raymonds was persuaded to wait under Al. Or, more accurately, alongside him. "We were equals in everything but the paycheck," says McGuire, who always acknowledged that Raymonds took care of the technical aspects of Marquette's play.

By no means were Raymonds' X's and O's the only reason that Marquette averaged 25 victories during the last 10 seasons. McGuire's unorthodox style—the blending of what appeared to be anarchy on the bench with a rigorously disciplined style of play on the court—gave the Warriors the special stamp that many Marquette fans feared their team would lose under another coach. "It was crazy here last year," says Guard Jimmy Boylan. "I mean crazy. Hank's a lot different—more controlled. He holds things in, so we don't get too upset."

But there is a little wacko in Raymonds, too. He wears boutonnieres for nationally televised games. On a trip to play Louisville, when a high school athletic director turned out the lights on his practice after only 45 minutes, he told reporters he was going home—and compounded the ploy by telling the motel operator to tell anyone who called that the Marquette party had checked out. After 13 years of quietly sitting on the bench while McGuire got technical fouls in arenas from coast to coast, Raymonds now berates referees. "I always wanted to scream," he says, "but I couldn't let anyone know we had two nuts on the same bench." And last week, following the season's two most important wins, over Las Vegas and DePaul, Raymonds benched three regulars for Saturday night's game against Washington. "Al liked to play a set lineup, but I prefer to use more depth," Raymonds explained. "I want to see how certain people react. Then again. maybe I sat next to Al too long."

Sitting side by side enabled McGuire to crib Raymonds' offense for a pamphlet called The Simple Simon Offense, only McGuire never let Marquette run it the way Raymonds wanted it done. That was obvious last week when the Warriors, who used to thrive on 60-58 wins, beat 11th-ranked Vegas 97-81 and No. 18 De-Paul 80-74. "Pretty soon they'll call us the 'Runnin' Warriors,' " said Raymonds after the shootout with the Runnin' Rebels. O.K., even Henry Iba's teams might have scored 97 against Vegas. But playing DePaul was a different matter, and the Warriors' 80 points against the Blue Demons showed how much Raymonds has changed Marquette's style.

Scouts from 10 NBA teams came to see the confrontation between Marquette's 6'10" Jerome Whitehead and DePaul's 6'11" Dave Corzine, who strolled into Milwaukee Arena 45 minutes before the game and promptly lived up to his reputation for eccentricity by stopping for a slice of pizza en route to the dressing room. When Marquette got a five-point lead with eight minutes left in the second half, Raymonds put the Warriors into a four-corners offense and turned on the Butch Lee Show. "Al wouldn't have wanted him to shoot," says Raymonds. "I wanted him to keep going for the basket one-on-one." That is like asking an alley cat to go to the fish market. While the big men battled evenly. Lee scored 19 of his 31 points in the second half and turned the last eight minutes into show time.

In McGuire's system one senior was designated as the star; Al would allow him to have a season-long audition for pro dollars. That is still essentially true, but this season other players have gotten a few moments in the spotlight, too. "The media always made AI the main attraction," says Boylan. "Hank has made the players the attraction." The 6'2" Boylan has gotten some of that attention, particularly after he scored 29 against Missouri. And Raymonds has showcased Whitehead enough that he is now being heavily scouted by the pros. In fact, Lee, Boylan and Whitehead should all be taken in the first three rounds of the NBA draft. Ulice Payne, a 6'6" forward whose career average was less than five points a game, had 19 on national television against Vegas. Even the enigmatic Bernard Toone has begun to crawl out of his shell. Then Raymonds benched Boylan, Payne and Toone against Washington, replacing them with two longtime subs and 6'6" freshman Oliver Lee, whom Raymonds calls "our next superstar." With the new players in the lineup, Marquette ran up an 11-point lead in the first 10 minutes and eased to a 71-63 victory over the Huskies.

"We lost only two starters. Bo Ellis and Bill Neary, and have more balance, depth and talent than last year," says Raymonds. "Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean we are going to repeat as national champs. Last year's team was only the sixth best—in talent—that I've seen here. We got the breaks in the tournament. Give us breaks, and we can do it again."

The main reason the Warriors may do just that is the marvelously talented and unselfish Butch Lee. He has averaged only 12.3 shots—and 16 points—a game. When Texas threw a triangle-and-two around him, he took five shots. The others scored, and Marquette won 65-56. Missouri shut Lee down, so Boylan got his 29 in a 70-52 victory. "What's important is the winning," says Lee. "Look, if I wanted stats. I'd be somewhere else. Marquette's tradition is low scoring, defense, unselfishness—and winning. The media often made Marquette sound like, 'Hey, things are crazy up there with that McGuire and those wild kids.' They didn't know. We like to think we're the Celtics of college basketball."

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