Majerus will not return to coach Billikens

ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis University announced Friday that head coach Rick Majerus will not return to coaching due to health complications.

According to a release issued by the University, Majerus continues to undergo evaluation and treatment in California for an ongoing serious heart condition. Majerus and his representatives have requested that SLU’s department of athletics not provide any additional details regarding his health.

After leading the Billikens program to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998 last season, Majerus initially decided to step away from the game due to cardiovascular issues for this season, but that is no longer the case.

“Coach Majerus’ health is of the utmost importance, and our thoughts and prayers are with him as he faces his challenges,” Director of Athletics Chris May said. “We are thankful for Rick’s efforts as he succeeded by all accounts as our head men’s basketball coach. This is an exciting season for the program, and we think it is important to communicate, with transparency, to the student-athletes, staff and our loyal fans that Rick will not be returning.

“The focus for this season does not change,” May added. “Rick built this team to be in a position to compete for championships, and we will move forward with that same goal. We will continue to invest all of our resources to ensure that this team, under the leadership of interim head coach Jim Crews, is put in the best position possible to succeed.

Majerus took over Saint Louis in 2007, compiling a 95-69 record in five seasons on the bench, including the Billikens first NCAA Tournament win since 1998. Majerus’ 25-year career record of 517-216 stands among the elite in college basketball for active coaches.

Majerus began his head-coaching career at Marquette, his alma mater, where he served in the role from 1983 to 1986. He coached Ball State from 1987 to 1989 after a short stint as an assistant coach with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. Utah hired him before the 1989 season and led the Utes to the Final Four in 1998. He left Utah in 2004.

Academic records were as much of the Majerus mantra as his wins on the court, always gushing over his players achievements in the classroom whenever he had the chance. In five seasons with the Billikens, he had eight players earn Academic All-Conference honors, the most by any A-10 program during that span. Included in that group was Brian Conklin, who was named an Academic All-American last season.

“We would like to express our utmost appreciation to Jon M. Huntsman Sr., a close and trusted friend to Coach Majerus,” May said. “Mr. Huntsman was a true godsend as we worked closely together regarding Rick’s welfare and relationship with the Billikens.”

“I want to thank Saint Louis University and director of athletics Chris May for the sincere thoughtfulness and genuine care they have for Rick during a challenging time,” Huntsman said. “Rick put his heart and soul into the team, and though he wishes he could be on the court, he will be pulling for the Billikens to have another great year. Rick sends his heartfelt gratitude for a dedicated and superb basketball team and coaching staff, together with the support of the great Billiken fans and the Saint Louis University department of athletics.”