Alumnus of the Year Award
GLENN “DOC” A. RIVERS, ARTS '85
Winter Park, Fla.
The world knows him as Doc. At Marquette, we know him as ours.
Thanks to then-assistant coach Rick Majerus, Doc got his nickname when he arrived for summer basketball camp on Marquette’s campus in 1980 wearing a Dr. J. shirt. The name stuck, and an impressive career began.
Doc was a three-year starter at Marquette, from 1980–83, and was named a 1982 Converse All American. He ranks third all time at the university in steals, sixth in assists and 23rd in scoring, with 1,234 career points. He still holds the freshman season records for field goals made and field-goal percentage and ranks second in points, scoring average, field goals attempted, free throws attempted and steals.
Doc’s time at Marquette, though, was just a precursor to what was to follow. He was a 1983 second-round draft pick by the Atlanta Hawks — where he played the first eight seasons of his 13-year NBA career, which included stints with the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs. He remains the Hawks’ all-time assists leader, with 3,866, and ended his illustrious playing career averaging 5.7 per game.
Always a great player, Doc sought to become an even greater coach. In 1999, he joined the Orlando Magic as coach and, after five years, took over the helm of the Boston Celtics. In 2008, he guided his team — led by superstars Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce — to Boston’s first NBA title since 1986.
“They don’t hang up any other banners but championship ones,” Doc said in a 2008 interview with the Boston Globe, “and now I’m a part of it.”
As the team made its run that year, Doc’s connection to Marquette delivered a key dose of inspiration. Speaking with Stephanie Russell, Marquette’s vice president for mission and ministry, during a lunch break from a board meeting — Doc is a university Trustee — he heard her say, “A person is a person through other persons.” This phrase, which sums up the South African philosophy known as ubuntu, became the team’s motto.
“It’s a way of life and a way of being,” Rivers said at the time during a news conference. “And I thought for this team, that was very, very important. I thought they needed something to remind them how important team and sacrifice is.”
Off the court, Doc knows how important contributing to the community is. In 1990, he was honored by the Pro Basketball Writers with the J. Walter Kennedy Basketball Citizenship Award. After the 1999–2000 season he was named Male Coach of the Year at the Rainbow Sports Awards, which reflected his accomplishments in the sports industry and his grace, dignity, commitment and humanity. He’s also a member of the All-Star Advisory Council for the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA youth basketball support programs, offering instructional guidance to players, coaches and parents in recreational youth basketball leagues around the country.
In honor of his accomplishments, Marquette retired Doc’s jersey, 31, in 2004.