The late Rick Majerus saw it coming: SLU is in the Top 10
In the last year of his life, then coach Rick Majerus said SLU would be in the Top 10 'in about three years' -- a bold statement considering the Billikens hadn't achieved that status since the mid-'60s. But in an eerie series of coincidences, the Billikens have done just that -- and a year faster than the late coach predicted.
Nine months before he passed away, Rick Majerus predicted an imminent rise to national prominence for the Billikens.
Greg Bartram / USA TODAY Sports
By Nate Latsch
ST. LOUIS -- Saint Louis University moved up to No. 10 in this week's Associated Press basketball poll, which was released Monday. Just as Rick Majerus predicted two years ago.
Majerus was in his final season as Billikens coach when he did a phone interview with columnist John Canzano of The (Portland) Oregonian in March 2012.
The coach, who passed away in December 2012 of heart failure, contacted Canzano to talk about Oregon native Brian Conklin, who was having a remarkable season that included first-team Atlantic 10 Conference honors and academic All-American accolades.
But Majerus, who took over at SLU in 2007, told Canzano something that would come true just 23 months later.
"We'll be a Top 10 team in about three years," Majerus told the columnist. "I did it at Ball State, did it at Utah, and we're going to do it here."
The Billikens (23-2), who hadn't been in the Top 10 of the AP poll since the 1964-65 season, accomplished that Monday.
On Majerus' birthday, no less. He would have turned 66 on Monday.
And SLU, which was No. 12 in last week's AP poll, moved up two spots this week in part because Michigan State lost to Nebraska on Sunday.
Michigan State was the school that knocked the Billikens out the NCAA tournament in 2012 with a 65-61 defeat in the round of 32. That was the last game Majerus coached.
One of the assistant coaches on the SLU staff then, Chris Harriman, is now an assistant at Nebraska. The irony of the Cornhuskers' remarkable win at Michigan State was not lost on the former Billikens assistant coach.
Somewhere in "Hoops Heaven" Coach Majerus is smiling... last game together was loss to MSU in NCAA. Got em back Coach! #MissYa#GBR#Bills