Former SLU Basketball Coach Rick Majerus dies at age 64

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Rick Majerus
Courtesy: Saint Louis Athletics
Release: 12/01/2012

ST. LOUIS - Saint Louis University mourns the loss of former head men's basketball coach Rick Majerus, who passed away Saturday, Dec. 1.

"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.

"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."

May said the team was informed Saturday afternoon that Majerus' condition was deteriorating. The University's support staff, counselors and campus ministers are available to assist SLU's student-athletes as needed.

"Nobody loved basketball and teaching kids more than Rick," said SLU interim head coach Jim Crews. "His passion for the game and the coaching profession was unparalleled. Rick was a true friend and was always there when needed. I, along with so many others, am going to miss him."

Sunday's game against Valparaiso at Chaifetz Arena will take place as scheduled. The game tips at 3:30 p.m.

Majerus coached the Billikens from 2007-12. In 25 years as a collegiate head coach, he posted an overall record of 517-216. In five seasons at SLU, the Billikens went 95-69.

During his five years as SLU's head coach, Majerus put the men's basketball program back on the map. Last season, he guided the Billikens to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, SLU's first NCAA appearance since 2000. In addition, the Billikens topped Memphis in the second round for their first NCAA Tournament win since 1998. Saint Louis entered the national polls for the first time since the 1994-95 season.

Also highlighting the Majerus era at SLU were an appearance in the finals of the postseason College Basketball Invitational in 2010 and the ESPN 76 Classic championship a year ago, SLU's first in-season tournament title since 1986.

Majerus took 12 teams to the NCAA Tournament and four to the NIT during his illustrious career. His 1998 University of Utah team advanced to the NCAA championship final. Majerus has reached the 20-win plateau 15 times, including two seasons with 30 wins.

During his time at SLU, Majerus had eight players earn Academic All-Conference honors, the most by any Atlantic 10 Conference program during that span. He has coached six Academic All-Americans in his career, including two with the Billikens.