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2019 EXPERTS, Season No. 15 Logo

Like & Share:"Big Dance" Origin

The term “the Big Dance” was coined in 1977 by Marquette University Head Coach Al Maguire. Here’s what Kevin Byrne, the former Sports Information Director of Marquette University said.

“The year we won it all [1977], Coach McGuire wore a lucky blue blazer. At the end of the season, a reporter asked him if he’d keep wearing it during the Tournament. Al said, “Absolutely. You gotta wear the blue blazer when you go to the big dance.”


No, I'm not kidding. This is the Marquette 1977 National Championship team that helped found the term "The Big Dance." Very stylish and sexy!


And the term Big Dance stuck to March Madness, well, like March Madness stuck to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Over the next 13 years, the phrase became such a part of the NCAA that they began the process of trademarking it for the Division I Championship in 2000.

One quick side note is that there is still mixed feeling about what the Big Dance actually is. Most of the time it refers to the tournament as a whole and encompasses all 64 teams in the bracket. However, as the tournament progesses through the rounds, the term winds up being used to define the Final Four. Some feel the actual Big Dance is the Championship Game, where there are only two teams dancing on the floor.