USC honoring former coach Frank McGuire this weekend

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - This weekend, the University of South Carolina is honoring former basketball coach Frank McGuire.

Coach McGuire retired by the time I started my TV career but I got to know him pretty well after I started working at WIS.

Before Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier, there was a South Carolina coach that put the Gamecocks on the map. Hall of Famer Frank McGuire.

McGuire led the USC basketball program for 16 years, from 1964-1980. These were the best of times for Gamecock basketball.

McGuire made USC a relevant program. He guided Carolina to a No. 1 national ranking, the school's only conference tournament championship and four straight NCAA tournament appearances.

Gary Gregor and Dennis Powell played for McGuire and they said they are excited that their former coach is receiving what they consider some long overdue recognition.

"He's a legend in this state," said Gregor. "It's kind of funny when you go somewhere and see somebody and [they say] 'Oh yeah, you played for Frank McGuire.' Even at my age there are still people who say that."

McGuire was a brash Irishman, a New York native who didn't shy away from anyone or any subject.

"A day I think a lot of us talked about and now it's finally coming through fruition, which I'm really excited, very excited about it because of what I felt about coach McGuire," said Powell.

On Saturday before the men face Ole Miss, some of McGuire's former players will have an autograph session at Colonial Life Arena from 3:15 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.

McGuire passed away in 1994 at the age of 80.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.