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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Coaching in Milwaukee a ‘dream’ for former Marquette All-American Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers’ jersey was retired by Marquette in February 2004. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Doc Rivers will be coaching 128 feet below his No. 31 Marquette jersey.

Rivers, a former Marquette guard and All-American, is going to be the next head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, the team announced Friday night. Marquette retired his jersey in 2004, and it hangs in the rafters of Fiserv Forum.

“Personally for me, being back here is a dream,” Rivers said. “I think about Rick, and Al and Hank. This is where I learned most of my basketball knowledge. I came from three geniuses. They taught me basketball, they taught me life.

“It’s just really cool being in an arena, coaching in an arena and your jersey is hanging above you. I can turn to the players and say, ‘Guys I swear to God I played basketball, just look up, I swear that’s me.'”

Rivers played in the blue & gold from 1980-83 and scored 1,234 points. His time at Marquette was highlighted by his half-court shot to beat then-No. 5 Notre Dame in 1981. But he remembers his time in Milwaukee for more than just basketball.

“This is one of the places I’ve always had circled in my life if I ever play here,” Rivers said. “I’m not here if I don’t go to Marquette. I really believe that. Not just Rick, Hank and Al, but the professors.

“I wasn’t the greatest student when I came to Marquette, but I left one hell of a student. That was not my plan. I wanted to skate, and it was not allowed, and it changed my life.

“Coming back here to a place that changed me as a literal person is a dream.”

Rivers has a relationship with Marquette from when he played, but he also has a relationship with Golden Eagles head coach Shaka Smart from when Smart recruited his son Austin to play at Florida.

“We’ve had a very close relationship from way back then,” Rivers said. “We’ve talked several times. Other than John and ownership, I think Shaka may have been the first call (I made). The sarcastic, ‘Get off the golf course. Time to get back to real work,’ conversation was from Shaka.”

Smart has always tried to maintain his relationship with Rivers.

“He’s always been so kind to me, and he didn’t have to be,” Smart said. “Big time NBA player, big time NBA coach, I’m a nobody as an assistant coach. And even after that, and he’s just always taking my calls, he’s always texting me back.

“And then I got the job here. And he’s always been so kind and supportive. A couple of times when he’s been in town, I’ve asked him to speak to the guys. He’s always been great with that. He’s undefeated when he’s at our games.

“There’s not a lot of alums of a program that are (an) NBA championship-level coach, and now it’s amazing the universe has created this dynamic where he’s the head coach of the Bucks in the same city that we’re in and the same arena. …

“I’m just so excited that he’s here and I can’t wait to have him around the guys some and get a chance to continue to learn from him.”

This article was written by Jack Albright. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @JackAlbrightMU.

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About the Contributor
Jack Albright
Jack Albright, Executive Sports Editor
Jack Albright is a sophomore from Charlton, Massachusetts studying journalism. He is the Executive Sports Editor of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-24 school year. In his free time, Jack likes to hang out with friends and watch Formula 1. He is excited to write fun stories about all things Marquette athletics and oversee new types of digital content.

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