MILWAUKEE — Coaches don’t wear uniforms. So, Marquette coach Buzz Williams needed a way to pay homage to former MU coach Rick Majerus.
What he came up with was pretty meaningful. Tossing off his usual coat and tie, Williams wore Majerus’ trademark black turtleneck.
“I wanted to be respectful,” Williams said. “I just wanted to have it be as a tribute. Our kids are wearing the patch. I just think what he’s meant to basketball in general and what he’s meant to the state and the service he gave to our institution that was the least I could do.”
One week after Majerus passed away from heart failure at 64, his funeral was held at the Church of Gesu on the Marquette campus prior to the Golden Eagles’ Saturday in-state rivalry game with Wisconsin. A moment of silence was observed at the BMO Harris Bradley Center for Majerus prior to the game.
An alumnus of the university, Majerus spent 12 seasons as an assistant at Marquette under Al McGuire and Hank Raymonds and was on McGuire’s staff for the school’s 1977 national championship.
Majerus took over as head coach in 1983 and guided Marquette to a 56-35 record and three trips to the National Invitation Tournament before leaving to take an assistant coaching job in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Hundreds arrived from around the country to honor Majerus, including Marquette alum and Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who flew to Milwaukee for the ceremony despite coaching a game in Philadelphia Friday and another in Boston later Saturday night.
Williams was unable to attend the funeral due to normal gameday preparations, but the current Marquette coach went to the church early Saturday morning to meet Majerus’ sisters and some of the others who were in town for the ceremony.
As for the turtleneck tribute?
“Because we won, I’m going to wear it next Saturday,” Williams said.