Remembering Rick Majerus

Rick Majerus, legendary basketball coach, passed away on Saturday, December 1, 2012. He was 64.

Majerus, coach at Saint Louis University, stepped away from his role with the team in August to deal with heart issues and later in November announced that he would not be returning. Reports say that Majerus died of heart failure in the Los Angeles hospital where he had been hospitalized for several months.

“On behalf of the entire Saint Louis University community, I wish to extend our deepest sympathies and our prayers to Rick’s family and friends during this very difficult time,” said University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J.

Majerus took over Saint Louis in 2007 compiling a 95-69 record in five seasons there and had a 25-year record of 517-216, including 15 20-win seasons and two 30-win seasons. He is most notably known for his time at Utah, going 323-95 from 1989-2004. He was at Marquette University, his alma mater, from 1983-86, and Ball State University from 1987-89.

“Tonight we join the rest of the basketball world in sending our condolences to Rick Majerus’ family and friends,” said Saint Louis director of athletics Chris May. “Coach Majerus put his heart and soul into the Billiken program, and for that we will be eternally grateful.

“What I will remember most about Rick’s tenure at SLU was his enduring passion to see his players excel both on and off the court,” May said. “Wins and losses meant a lot to him, but no more than to see our student-athletes succeed in the classroom. He truly embraced the term ‘student-athlete,’ and I think that will be his lasting legacy.”

Majerus took 12 teams to the NCAA tournament, winning at least one game in all but one of those appearances, with the 1998 Utah team losing to Kentucky in the NCAA championship game.

“Rick left a lasting legacy at the University of Utah, not only for his incredible success and the national prominence he brought to our basketball program, but also for the tremendous impact he made on the young men who were fortunate enough to play on his teams,” Utah athletic director Dr. Chris Hill said in a statement.

“His standard of excellence extended beyond the basketball court and into the academic and personal success of his players. He will be deeply missed and we grieve for his family and all of his friends.”

Majerus’ father, Raymond, died of a heart attack at 63 in 1987. He is survived by sisters Jodi and Tracy.

His autobiography, “My Life On a Napkin,” was published in 2000.

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