Beyond the Game: Milwaukee Bucks Coach Jim Boylan

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — March Madness is the time of year that college basketball fans, coaches and players live for — and it’s also the best time of the year for Milwaukee Bucks Coach Jim Boylan.

This month, Boylan’s focus is helping the Bucks win games in the NBA, but he has been through March Madness on the college courts, too.

A native of Jersey City, New Jersey, Boylan was a starting guard for Al McGuire’s national championship Marquette team in 1977.

“I’ve often told people there were 10 different guys in my neighborhood who were just like Al. Spoke like him, talked like him, acted like him — so it was very, very comfortable for me to be around him. I had told Al way back when he first came to recruit me out of Assumption College — he wanted to know if I could play for his team, and I said ‘I’m not coming to play for you. I’m coming to be your starting point guard,’ and Al kind of liked that,” Boylan said.

There was a lot of talk about Boylan as a player. He had been a second team All-American in high school. For family reasons, Boylan went to Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts for his first two years and he led the greyhounds to the NCAA Division II Final Four in both of those seasons. Thus, Boylan was in the Final Four his first three collegiate seasons, and each experience built upon the last.

“I had gone to two Final Fours and the first one, I made a key turnover at the end of the semifinal game which basically cost us the game and we lost. From being in that environment of having to win and playing for it all, really taught me a lot of things, and I still to this day can remember standing in the tunnel before going out for the North Carolina game, and you know basketball is physical and all that, but it’s also very psychological, and I remember speaking to myself and saying ‘I am going to have the best game of my career tonight and I had a great game,'” Boylan said.

The victory over the Tarheels remains Marquette’s shining moment. Boylan remains a product of his collegiate experience at Assumption and Marquette.

“I look at it as it was two different worlds. It was a small school, 1,500 students. You knew everybody and everybody knew you. You know everybody’s business. It was kind of a bit of a soap opera. I cherish that experience and then coming to Marquette, a little scary at first for me — not knowing if I was doing the right thing, but it worked out to be the best move I’ve ever made in my life,” Boylan said.

Both Jim Boylan and his older brother Mike Boylan are still among the record holders at Assumption College.