He waited an instant and then said slyly: "After all, I keep telling myself, they must be good or they wouldn't have scholarships."
He told about one of the games with Maryland last year. Maryland was well out in front with less than two minutes to go. And, being a team that holds the ball, it looked like a sure winner. McGuire called a time-out and told his players: "Our streak had to end sometime, and this looks like it. So, fellows, let's lose graciously. When the gun goes off, go right over and congratulate those Maryland boys."
McGuire shook his head sadly. "Our boys went right back and won that game in the last 60 seconds. That shows you how much attention they pay to the coach."
McGuire reminded his audience that North Carolina now held the national championship by one point, the margin of victory over Kansas.
"I was named Coach of the Year," he said, "because of that one point. I was invited to address clinics all over the country because of that one point. Ed Sullivan asked me to stand up at his television show because of that one point. I was invited to address the Executive Club of Charlotte the week after Ed Murrow was there and the week before a leading atomic scientist spoke." McGuire held up a finger. "One point," he said, "and the players and I don't ever forget that that's the difference between us and a lot of teams and a lot of coaches."
Driving back to Chapel Hill, McGuire listened to a question as to the secret of what was now clearly an extraordinary ability to get along with people.
"Well," he said, "I grew up on the sidewalks of New York and you had to get along with all kinds of people. You had to get along with them or fight them. We did considerable getting along and considerable fighting. But I must say, as kids, we never went in for any more deadly weapons than our own two fists. It was a good neighborhood to grow up in. Gene Tunney came from down the street and Carmine DeSapio, who runs Tammany Hall, was from the neighborhood. Most of the kids turned out well, but a few turned out not so well.
"A lot of kids from our neighborhood became policemen. If I hadn't gone in for athletics, I might have become a cop myself. I'm a police buff. I guess I know as many policemen as anybody in New York.'
"That reminds me of a story," he said. "Whenever I'm connected with any game in Madison Square Garden, like the one recently when I coached the College All-Stars, I get an awful lot of calls for tickets from old friends of mine. None of them realizes how the requests pile up. But I try to take care of them. One time I had a lot of requests and I called up a ticket man I know at the Garden and told him I wanted 60 tickets, 30 on one side of the Garden and 30 on the other.