Bernard Toone, member of Marquette's 1977 championship team, dies at 65

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Bernard Toone, a wily forward from New York who played for Marquette's 1977 NCAA men's basketball championship team, has died at 65.

Toone's death due to cancer was announced by MU on Monday.

The 6-foot-9 Toone was a highly rated recruit from Yonkers, New York, and he arrived at MU to play for legendary coach Al McGuire in 1975.

Playing time was hard to come by for Toone on those star-studded Warriors teams, which sometimes led to a contentious relationship with McGuire. He averaged 5.5 points per game as a freshman and 4.4 points as a sophomore.

The player and coach had several confrontations in the 1976-77 season, including in the NCAA Tournament. But it never derailed MU's march to a title in McGuire's final season as coach.

"It all paid off when we won the championship," Toone told Milwaukee Journal reporter Mary Schmitt in 1987. "It meant a lot to me with all the controversy me and Al had."

Toone's production increased under head coach Hank Raymonds in his final two years at MU. Toone took over a starring role as a senior in the 1978-79 season, averaging 18.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, but played just 23 games in the NBA. He spent several seasons overseas.

Toone's post-basketball life was dotted by personal issues, including drug use and several arrests in New York. He did return to Milwaukee in 2007 for a 30-year reunion of MU's championship team.

"The thing with Bernard, his trend was to fun all the time," McGuire told the Milwaukee Journal in 1987. "It was almost an overbalance.

"But he was a guy you had to like. There was something about his smile that just captured you."

Contact Ben Steele at (414) 224-2676 or Follow him on Twitter at @BenSteeleMJS or Instagram at @bensteele_mjs

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