By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 02, 2006 at 5:15 AM

It seemed a natural. Once Marquette made it to the Final Four in the 2003 NCAA basketball tournament, the school's hoops program was bound to get some attention. One of the fruits of that attention is the newly published book, "Tales from the Marquette Hardwood," written by MU alum Mike Neufeldt and television sports announcer Tom Pipines.

Published by Sports Publishing LLC, the hardcover volume -- which lists for $19.95 -- taps the Warriors and Golden Eagles highlights from 1977 through 2003 through a series of vignettes starring everyone from Al McGuire to Tom Crean and Doc Rivers to Dwayne Wade.

We asked Neufeldt, who earned a degree in broadcast and electronic communications from Marquette in 2000, about writing a book about his alma mater's team.

OMC: How did the idea for the book come about?

Mike Neufeldt: After Marquette made it to the Final Four in 2003, Sports Publishing LLC approached Tom about doing a book on Marquette. This is very rare. Most of the time you have an idea for a book and the author approaches the publishing company. We had the publishing company approach us.

Tom and I have been friends for many years. We met when Fox 6 was hosting the MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon. Tom and I were teamed up on several telethons, and we became good friends. Being a Marquette grad, Tom felt we would make a good team to write the book.

OMC: How did you decide what to include and what to exclude? Were the choices mostly obvious?

MN: We wanted to concentrate on the time from McGuire to Crean. Marquette has a long basketball history, but most fans associate Marquette and McGuire. We thought the time between the 1977 National Championship and most recent Final Four appearance would be of most interest to fans. We also thought there would be an increased interest this year with Marquette entering the Big East.

OMC: How did you and your co-author share the duties? Did you both collaborate on the entire thing or do he write parts and you write parts?

MN: Tom and I were really a good partnership. Tom had the media and sports contacts and experience. I had the writing and computer knowledge. We interviewed many of the former players and coaches together. Tom also did some interviews individually, and I did some individually also.

OMC: What's your favorite "tale" in the book?

MN: Rick Majerus was a fun guy to interview. He has a wealth of basketball knowledge and a great love for the Marquette program. Two of his tales really stick out. One is "Not Enough Tickets." Al McGuire assigned him the job to sneak in a few of McGuire's friends to the 1977 Championship game because they didn't have tickets.

My other favorite tale is "Vintage Al." He tells how Al was giving a Christmas present to Billy Packer. Billy agonized over what he should get Al. When it came time for the two to exchange the gifts, Billy gave Al a Brooks Brothers shirt and Al gave Billy an Oscar Mayer wienermobile.

The great thing about our book is it gives a behind the scenes look at Marquette basketball by providing favorite memories of many key people in the Marquette basketball family.

OMC: Are you working on another book?

MN: I have about 200 pages done on a book I am writing about growing up with muscular dystrophy. I plan on sharing my philosophy on life and living each day to the best of your ability.

"Tales from the Marquette Hardwood" -- with a foreword by Rick Majerus -- is available at all area bookshops.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.