NCAA BK

Majerus remembered at SLU memorial

Saint Louis University men's basketball coach Rick Majerus
Former Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus was honored at a memorial at the school on Friday.
Share This Story

   
 

ST. LOUIS (AP)

Kwamain Mitchell recalled the first time Rick Majerus visited his home, trying to recruit him to Saint Louis. Mitchell's mother made a big meal, and after one plate, Mitchell was full.

Majerus wasn't, took a look at Mitchell and said, ''With that body, you can eat three or four more plates.''

Hundreds of people turned out at Chaifetz Pavilion on the SLU campus Friday to honor the Billikens basketball coach who died Dec. 1 of heart failure at the age of 64. He was remembered fondly, with speakers describing him as funny but passionate, exacting but caring, and a coaching genius who got the best out of his players both on and off the court.

Large photographs near the front showed the rotund coach surrounded by young men a foot taller, working the sidelines, seated on a stool patiently teaching attentive players. Dozens of plays drawn up by Majerus, scribbled in marker on white paper, encircled the room, a practice gym where Majerus spent countless hours passing on his basketball knowledge.

Interim coach Jim Crews, whose team is 5-3 so far this season, said Majerus has made a mark that has resonated through the sport.

''His fingerprint is all over college basketball,'' Crews said. ''Everywhere you go, there he is.''

Majerus demanded effort both in the classroom and on the court. Two of his SLU players, Brian Conklin and Kevin Lisch, were academic all-Americans.

His success on the court was impressive, too — a 517-216 record in 25 seasons, just one of which had a losing record. He had 15 20-win seasons and two 30-win seasons. He led Utah to the 1998 NCAA final and took 12 teams to the NCAA tournament, winning at least one game in all but one of those appearances.

Milwaukee-born Majerus played on the freshman team at Marquette and got his coaching start as an assistant under Al McGuire in 1971. He was head coach at Marquette in 1983-86, Ball State 1987-89, Utah 1989-2004 and, after a few years working as an ESPN commentator, Saint Louis for the past five seasons.

His biggest success was at Utah: A 323-95 record with 10 conference championships in 13 seasons. Three of his Utah players were first-round NBA draft picks.

At SLU, Majerus turned around a program in a decade-long decline. He brought in players from outside the U.S. and got the most out of overlooked prospects, his teams known for their gritty defense. Majerus was 95-69 and led the Billikens to the third round of the NCAA tourney last season, the team's first appearance in the tournament since 2000.

Majerus had been in ill health on and off for years, battling weight and heart problems. He had a stent inserted in August 2011 and missed some games last season after gashing his leg in a collision with players.

He was undergoing evaluation and treatment in California for ongoing heart trouble and the school announced he was on leave in late August. Then in November came the announcement that he would not return.

Crews said he learned a lot of basketball from Majerus, but he learned a lot more about life.

''Family, friends, food, basketball, players — if that was involved, Rick was singing and whistling a happy tune,'' Crews said. ''It was always about people and that was what made Rick so special.''

Majerus' funeral Mass is scheduled for Saturday in his hometown of Milwaukee.

Tagged: Saint Louis, Utah, Kwamain Mitchell

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..