Thursday, April 3, 2003

Final Four pays for Marquette

The Associated Press

MILWAUKEE - Marquette's return to the Final Four for the first time since 1977 is turning into a fund-raising bonanza for the university. The university raised $2 million in 24 hours for the $31 million Al McGuire Center, the school said Tuesday night.

The money came in gifts ranging from $50 to $400,000 and leaves the school $2 million short of paying for the basketball practice center, which is scheduled to open this fall.

"This is an unbelievable show of support for the future success of Marquette athletics," said the Rev. Robert A. Wild, university president. "Al McGuire wanted everyone to have an opportunity to be a part of this project, and the excitement surrounding our trip to the Final Four is certainly inspiring many to join the team."

Marquette, which won the 1977 title with McGuire as coach, advanced to the Final Four by beating Kentucky 83-69 Saturday in Minneapolis.

Wild is confident the school will raise the remaining $2 million within a week or two.

"It does open a door," Wild said. "Intercollegiate athletics is a powerful thing. It's very gripping emotionally, and people want to be part of the experience of the team."

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