Former Marquette star Marc Marotta dies at 52


Marc Marotta, a former basketball star at Marquette who was chairman of the BMO Harris Bradley Center board, died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack. He was 52.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Marotta was found unresponsive in his car outside the Wisconsin Athletic Club in Glendale Wednesday afternoon.

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Marotta starred at Marquette in the early 1980s, graduating in 1984 as a three-time academic All-American. Drafted by the New York Knicks in 1984, he eschewed a career in professional basketball in favor of attending Harvard Law School, earning his law degree in 1987.

He was secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration from January 2003 to October 2005 in the administration of longtime friend, then-Gov. Jim Doyle and also served as an adviser to other politicians in the Democratic Party, including Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

Marotta played at Marquette for three seasons under coach Hank Raymonds and was a tri-captain along with Doc Rivers and Terrell Schlundt as a senior under coach Rick Majerus in 1983-84.

He is 21st all-time at Marquette in rebounding and led the Warriors in rebounding as both a junior and a senior. He is also the school’s only three-time academic All-American.

“The Marquette community is incredibly saddened to hear the news of Marc Marotta’s death [Wednesday],” Marquette president Michael R. Lovell said in a release. “Beyond the thousands of people Marc touched on our Marquette campus, he was devoted to his family and we send out deepest condolences to them. Marc has left us far too soon and he has left an enduring legacy both on our Marquette campus as well as across our community.”

Marotta was a partner and business attorney with Foley & Lardner in Milwaukee and also served on the boards of Summerfest, the Milwaukee World Festival, as well as the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee.

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  • He was also playing a key role in the effort to build a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.

    “The entire Bucks family is shocked and saddened to learn of Marc Marotta’s passing,” the team said in a statement at halftime of Wednesday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. “Marc was a fantastic friend and ally to the Bucks, but an even better person with a generous heart and an amazing spirit. His impact was felt throughout the Milwaukee community and he will be dearly missed.”

    Marotta is survived by his wife and four children.

    Former Marquette star and broadcaster George Thompson said he admired Marotta’s combination of intelligence and toughness.

    “I used to call him the king of pain when I was broadcasting,” Thompson said. “He broke his nose in every game. They would stuff his nose with cotton and he would go right back in banging.”

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