Chaifetz Arena The House That Rick Built
Rick Majerus, the St. Louis University head basketball coach, died Saturday of heart failure in a Los Angeles hospital at age 64 . Majerus hospitalized for several months, will be remembered as the coach who led Utah to the 1998 NCAA final and had only one losing season in 25 years with four schools, three of Majerus’ players at Utah were first-round NBA draft picks. Keith Van Horn was No. 2 overall in 1997, Michael Doleac 12th in 1998 and Andre Miller eighth in 1999.
Majerus legendary for humor, his size and just being an great all around old school coach, easily understood if you ever played a winning sport, started his basketball coaching career at Marquette, his hometown college. He didn’t make the varsity squad under Al McGuire who instead took Majerus under his wing and hired him as an assistant coach in 1971.
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. He led four teams to the NIT and took Saint Louis teams to the CBI tournament final in 2009-10 and had a 25-year record of 517-216, with 15 20-win seasons and two 30-win seasons. He had his most success at Utah, going 323-95 from 1989-2004. He was at Marquette from 1983-86, and Ball State from 1987-89.
Majerus was 95-69 in five seasons at Saint Louis easily recognized as the student first college athlete coach was critical of Saint Louis’ affiliation in the Atlantic 10, complaining that the travel demands made it too hard to succeed academically. Yet he coached two academic All-Americans at Saint Louis, Conklin and Kevin Lisch.
‘The school announced Nov. 19 that Majerus wouldn’t return to Saint Louis because of the heart condition. He ended the school’s 12-year NCAA tournament drought last season, and bounced back from his only losing season, with a team that won its opening game and took top regional seed Michigan State to the wire. The Billikens were ranked for the first time since 1994-95.
Saint Louis is 3-3 this season under interim coach Jim Crews, who joined the staff last season. The Billikens were picked to finish second in the Atlantic 10 but have struggled without point guard Kwamain Mitchell, sidelined probably until January with a broken foot.
Known for his Zest, Majerus leaves behind some colorful experiences as told by some former players who remain nameless. The first time, [ Utah was] recruiting me, and after the game I went down to the [ Utes'] locker room,” “His hair’s everywhere and his sweater’s off and he’s just drenched, and he’s eating a whole pizza in front of me and he’s like, ‘You want any?’ I grab a piece, and then he starts undressing and gets in the shower and is still talking to me. It was funny. It was weird. How many grown, fat, naked men do you see when you’re a high school kid?”…
But there are so many more tales about Majerus out there. Majerus swore at stars and backups alike and wasn’t averse to poking them in their chests. That he once brought Van Horn to tears after catching him looking at his stats after a loss to arch rival Brigham Young.
During the 2001-02 season Majerus reportedly called Lance Allred, a backup center who was 75% deaf, “a disgrace to cripples” who had “weaseled [his] way through life using [his poor] hearing as an excuse.”…
At Rick Majerus’ final stop, the lone concession to the coach’s health woes were the footstools stationed at each corner of the practice court. Majerus had a history of heart and weight problems dating to 1989 that persisted despite a daily constitutional of a mile swim. He had a stent inserted in August 2011 in Salt Lake City and missed some games in the 2011-12 season after gashing his leg in a collision with players.Saint Louis took to him like a Drewes Concrete, Chaifetz Arena basketball floor should be named after him, it quickly be came “the house that Rick Built.” His autobiography, ”My Life On a Napkin,” came out in 2000 .
Short URL: http://stlouiscore.com/?p=157828