Majerus to take leave of absence from SLU

Majerus to take leave of absence from SLU

Published Aug. 24, 2012 5:10 p.m. ET

Rick Majerus is taking a leave of absence from his duties as head coach at Saint Louis University for health-related reasons.

After leading the Billikens program to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998, Majerus has decided to step away from the game due to cardiovascular issues.  

"Rick is in a California hospital undergoing evaluation and treatment for an ongoing heart condition," Director of Athletics Chris May said. "His health is the most important issue right now, and our hope is for full and complete recovery."

Assistant Jim Crews will take over as head coach.

Crews spent 17 years as the head coach at Evansville, where he amassed a 294-209 record. He also played at Indiana under Bob Knight.

"Jim Crews is a long-time professional and is all-in with the task of leading the program this year," May said. "He has led teams to numerous NCAA Tournaments, which is our goal. We welcome and encourage the Billiken faithful and the community to rally around this group of young men as we continue to prepare for what promises to be an exciting basketball season."

Saint Louis has not made a decision about the head coaching position for the 2013-14 season.

"Coach Majerus is not only a colleague, but a dear friend, so this is a difficult time," Crews said. "We are fortunate to have a group of outstanding young men. This past year, they have been a delight to work with, and our staff is excited to serve them. Hopefully, our fans will rally behind this team and enjoy a great season."

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.

"I appreciate what Rick has done to return SLU men’s basketball to national prominence," University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. said. "I know that he would like to be here with his players and coaches this season, and all of us at SLU will keep Rick in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."