December 4, 2012

12/04/2012 - 5:25am

The world of college basketball received some tragic news as Rick Majerus passed away at the age of 64. Originally from Wisconsin, Rick began his career at Marquette as a player, eventually becoming a long time assistant and three year head coach. After a year stint with the Milwaukee Bucks as an assistant, Rick eventually took the head coaching job at Ball State with his success leading to his most memorable coaching job, leader of the Utah Utes.

Compiling a record of 323-95 during his time at Utah, Majerus made it past the first round of the NCAA Tournament 9 times. After managing to get to a Sweet 16 and Elite 8 in consecutive seasons with Keith Van Horn as his star player, he managed to get to the NCAA Tournament Finals on a team run by Andre Miller featuring Michael Doleac. A candidate for many high profile jobs, his health made him step down at Utah during the 2004 season.

After accepting a job at USC which he eventually passed on, he was a commentator at ESPN from 2004-2007. He decided to get back into the coaching world in 2007, taking the head coaching job for the St. Louis Billikens. His last season he led the Billikens to the NCAA 3rd Round before losing to #1 seed Michigan State. With heart issues still prevalent, Rick took leave from St. Louis, eventually deciding to fully step down. On December 1, he was pronounced dead due to heart failure at a Los Angeles hospital.

Rick Majerus was a beloved and respected figure by his friends, peers, players and countless numbers of basketball fans. Though he at times could carry the wrath of a head basketball coach, his knowledge and dedication to the game of basketball was truly inspiring. His success as a basketball coach put him in an elite class and he absolutely seemed to carry even greater standards off the court. Reading some of the stories about Rick, you realize how incredibly special he was to a large portion of the basketball community. University of Utah will hang his sweater from the rafters in a fitting tribute to the life of Rick Majerus.