For almost forty years, Marquette's athletic teams were nicknamed the Warriors. And while there are many athletes from Marquette's history that did the Warrior name proud, there isn't a better example of a Marquette Warrior than the incomparable Bo Ellis, who starred for the men's basketball team for four glorious years -- culminating with Marquette's only NCAA Championship in March 1977.
I can't adequately explain how good Bo was, or how much he meant to those Marquette teams, but thankfully, I don't have to: we've got talented and insightful writers like Cracked Sidewalks' John Pudner who can tell you just how valuable Bo was to Marquette in the mid-70s. But this post isn't about Bo's contributions on the floor, extraordinary though they were; rather, this post is about how Bo has carried that Warrior spirit, and lived the Marquette cura personalis mission, in his life off the court.
Read on, after the jump.
Bo Ellis graduated from Marquette University almost thirty-five years ago, but he's never been a stranger to his alma mater: after his NBA playing career ended, Bo served as an assistant coach for the men's basketball team in two separate stints. He's since moved on to other pursuits, which leaves the foundation he established for his daughter Nicole as the most visible connection to Marquette.
In 2003, Bo and his wife Candy faced the worst situation that can confront any parent: the loss of a child. Bo and Candy's daughter Nicole, herself an alumna of Marquette ('00), died at age 24 after a courageous battle with a rare liver disease. In her honor, Bo and Candy began the Nicole Ellis Foundation, which provides support to the American Liver Foundation and also funds the Nicole Ellis Scholarship Fund at MU, a fund which endeavors to "benefit students who might not otherwise be afforded a Marquette education."
But just as Bo's contributions on the floor weren't limited to one part of the game, his participation in charitable and other civic-minded endeavors doesn't end with the Nicole Ellis Foundation: as he told Dan McGrath in February 2010, he's heavily involved in the Chicago Public League, running clinics for coaches, setting up sports programs at area schools, and putting into practice the words of the late Al McGuire: "Use basketball. Don’t let basketball use you."
The primary fundraiser for the Nicole Ellis Foundation is the annual Warrior Day Golf Outing. Given all that Bo Ellis has meant -- and continues to mean -- to Marquette, I can't think of a better name for it.
To see the rest of the Buick Human Highlight Reel, and even share a story of your own, go to ncaa.com/buick. This post is sponsored by Buick.