Rick Majerus

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Rick Majerus
Rick Majerus.jpg
Sport(s) Basketball
Biographical details
Born (1948-02-17)February 17, 1948
Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin
Died December 1, 2012(2012-12-01) (aged 64)
Los Angeles, California
Playing career
1967–1968 Marquette
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1971–1983
1983–1986
1986–1987
1987–1989
1989–2004
2007–2012
Marquette (asst.)
Marquette
Milwaukee Bucks (asst.)
Ball State
Utah
Saint Louis
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
MWC Regular Season Championship (2003)
WAC Tournament Championship (1995, 1997, 1999)
WAC Regular Season Championship (1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999)
MAC Tournament Championship (1989)
MAC Regular Season Championship (1989)
Awards
WAC Coach of the Year (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999)

Richard R. "Rick" Majerus (February 17, 1948 – December 1, 2012) was an American college basketball coach. He coached at Marquette University (1983–1986), Ball State University (1987–1989), the University of Utah (1989–2004), and Saint Louis University (2007–2012). Majerus' most successful season came at Utah in the 1997–98 season, when the Utes finished as NCAA national runners-up.

Biography[edit]

Majerus graduated from Marquette University High School in 1966 and then attended Marquette University, where he tried out as a walk-on in the 1967 season. He did not play for Marquette, but stayed on as a student assistant. He graduated in 1970 with a degree in history. He began coaching eighth-graders at St. Sebastian Grade School in Milwaukee, then coached freshmen boys at Marquette University High School. He was an assistant coach with the Marquette Warriors (now Golden Eagles) for 12 years under mentor Al McGuire, until 1977, and under Hank Raymonds until taking over as head coach in 1983. After three years as head coach at Marquette, and a 56-35 record, he became an assistant coach with the National Basketball Association's Milwaukee Bucks for the 1986–87 season. He coached at Ball State during the 1987–88 and 1988–89 seasons, finishing with a record of 43–17.

He was an assistant coach under Don Nelson for the US national team in the 1994 FIBA World Championship, winning the gold medal.[1]

Majerus led Utah to the Final Four in 1998, eventually losing to Kentucky in the National Championship Game. He was greatly affected by the loss, and claimed to be able to recite the last six minutes of play of the championship game second by second.[2] While at Utah, he was known for living out of a hotel room, noting that he liked that "There’s clean towels, my bed is turned down every night and there’s a mint on my pillow, no matter what psychological or emotional crisis the maid is going through."[2][3] He left Utah in January 2004 after 15 seasons and 323 victories in part to get control of his health; he underwent seven vessel bypass surgery to his heart in 1989.[4]

Majerus was known to berate and verbally abuse his players. Lance Allred, who wrote about it in his autobiography Longshot, told of his three years at Utah and how Majerus would humiliate him, often targeting his disability—Allred being partially deaf and requiring hearing aids.[5] Allred transferred after the 2001-02 season, but Majerus was later "cleared of any wrongdoing."[6] While at Ball State and Utah, Majerus was considered a serious candidate for numerous major head coaching positions, including UCLA, St. John's, UNLV, Arizona State, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Texas, Wisconsin, San Diego State and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.[7]

On December 15, 2004, Majerus was hired as coach of the University of Southern California basketball team; he was to replace interim coach Jim Saia, who was replacing fired coach Henry Bibby, with Majerus taking over effective April 1, 2005. His contract was scheduled to pay him $5 million over five years.[8]

Majerus gave an energetic and humorous press conference on the day of his hire, but also noted "I hope I die here. I hope I coach here the rest of my life."[2][9] In order to take the position, he needed to buy himself out of his contract as an analyst for ESPN.[7] However, Majerus unexpectedly resigned only five days later in a somber, and at times weeping, press conference. He apologized to the university and stated that his health and fitness were not yet at a stage where he thought he could perform his new duties, noting "I wanted this job so bad I was in denial where my health actually is [. . .] I realized [USC] wasn’t getting the guy they hired. I came to that conclusion myself. I’m not fit for this job by my standards."[10] Years later, however, Majerus would claim that the true reason for his change of mind had not been his health, but rather had been his mother's request that he not take the job, which would have meant his relocation to Los Angeles, far removed from her home in Wisconsin.[11]

Majerus worked as a game and studio analyst for ESPN from 2004–2007.

Majerus was a fan favorite and cult figure around college basketball, known for his portly, rotund figure and his quirky, jovial personality. He enjoyed bratwursts, a sausage popular in his native Wisconsin.[12]

On April 27, 2007, Majerus accepted the head coaching position at Saint Louis University; his contract was for six years.[13] It was announced on August 24, 2012 that Majerus would not coach the 2012–13 season due to health issues.[14]

Majerus' mother, Alyce, died on August 6, 2011.[15]

Health and eventual death[edit]

On August 24, 2012, Majerus announced he would be taking medical leave from his job as head coach and would not be coaching in the 2012–13 season. Jim Crews, one of his assistants, took over for him on a temporary basis for the 2012–13 season.[16] On November 16, it was announced that Majerus would not return to the position.[17]

Majerus died of heart failure in a Los Angeles hospital on December 1, 2012.[18] Plans for a public memorial service for current and former athletes, coaches, students, and members of the Saint Louis and University community were made by SLU for Friday, December 7, 2012 at 3:30 p.m. at Chaifetz Pavilion on the SLU campus. His private funeral service was in Milwaukee's Church of the Gesu, 1145 West Wisconsin Avenue, on Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.[19][20]

Published works[edit]

In 2000, he released an autobiography My Life On a Napkin : Pillow Mints, Playground Dreams and Coaching the Runnin' Utes (ISBN 0-7868-8445-2), co-written by Gene Wojciechowski.

Coaching tree[edit]

A number of Majerus' assistants have become head coaches elsewhere.

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Marquette Warriors (independent) (1983–1986)
1983–84 Marquette 17–13 NIT Second Round
1984–85 Marquette 20–11 NIT Third Round
1985–86 Marquette 19–11 NIT Second Round
Marquette: 56–35
Ball State Cardinals (Mid-American Conference) (1987–1989)
1987–88 Ball State 14–14 8–8 4th
1988–89 Ball State 29–3 14–2 1st NCAA Second Round
Ball State: 43–17 22–10
Utah Utes (Western Athletic Conference) (1989–1999)
1989–90 Utah 4-2*
1990–91 Utah 30–4 15–1 1 NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1991–92 Utah 24–11 9–7 4-T NIT Third Place
1992–93 Utah 24–7 15–3 1-T NCAA Second Round
1993–94 Utah 14–14 8–10 5-T
1994–95 Utah 28–6 15–3 1 NCAA Second Round
1995–96 Utah 27–7 15–3 1 NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1996–97 Utah 29–4 15–1 1 NCAA Elite Eight
1997–98 Utah 30–4 12–2 1 NCAA Runner Up
1998–99 Utah 28–5 14–0 1 NCAA Second Round
Utah: 238–64 118–30
Utah Utes (Mountain West Conference) (1999–2004)
1999–2000 Utah 23–9 10–4 1-T NCAA Second Round
2000–01 Utah 1-0**
2001–02 Utah 21–9 10–4 2 NCAA First Round
2002–03 Utah 25–8 11–3 1-T NCAA Second Round
2003–04 Utah 15–5*** 3-2
Utah: 85–31 34–13
Utah: 323–95 152–43
Saint Louis Billikens (Atlantic 10 Conference) (2007–2012)
2007–08 Saint Louis 16–15 7–9 9-T
2008–09 Saint Louis 18–14 8–8 5th
2009–10 Saint Louis 23–13 11–5 4th CBI Finals
2010–11 Saint Louis 12–19 6–10 10th-T
2011–12 Saint Louis 26–8 12–4 2nd NCAA Third Round
Saint Louis: 95–69 44–36
Total: 517-215

      National champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

*Coached the first six games before undergoing heart surgery. Assistant Joe Cravens coached the rest of the season.
**Coached the first game before taking a personal leave of absence. Assistant Dick Hunsaker coached the rest of the season.
***Coached the first 20 games before retiring due to health concerns. Assistant Kerry Rupp coached the rest of the season.

Coaching awards[edit]

  • WAC Coach of the Year: 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997 (media), 1999
  • District Coach of the Year (1991, 1993, 1995, 1996)
  • Playboy Magazine Coach of the Year (1992, 1998)
  • UPI National Coach of the Year (1991)
  • Basketball Times National Coach of the Year (1991)
  • Utah Sports Person of the Year (1992 and 1997)
  • Trademark Sweater Retired and hung from the Rafters at Jon M. Huntsman Center February 2, 2013

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1994 USA Basketball
  2. ^ a b c Bill Dwyre, Livin’ Large, if All Too Briefly, With Majerus, Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2004, Accessed January 16, 2009
  3. ^ Larry Stewart, He Admits to Just One Big Vice, With Relish, Los Angeles Times, December 16, 2004, Accessed January 16, 2009
  4. ^ Accessed February 13. 2010
  5. ^ "Lance Allred Wikipedia page". 
  6. ^ Associated Press, Utah coach cleared of ex-player's allegations, ESPN, January 22, 2004, Accessed January 19, 2010
  7. ^ a b Paul Gutierrez, It’s a Feel-Good Story, Los Angeles Times, December 16, 2004, Accessed January 16, 2009
  8. ^ Paul Gutierrez, Floyd Looks Like a Keeper for Trojans, Los Angeles Times, January 14, 2005, Accessed January 16, 2009
  9. ^ Bill Plaschke, Laughter Belies a Serious Quest, Los Angeles Times, December 16, 2004, Accessed January 16, 2009
  10. ^ Mike Terry and Jason Reid, He Just Wasn’t Fit to Be Tied Down, Los Angeles Times, December 21, 2004, Accessed January 16, 2009
  11. ^ Bill Dwyre (November 25, 2011). "Rick Majerus tells why he gave up USC job in 2004". Los Angeles Times. 
  12. ^ "Rick Majerus Quotes". 
  13. ^ Forbes.com Saint Louis Hires Coach Rick Majerus
  14. ^ Held, Kevin. "Rick Majerus to sit out 2012-13 season with health issues". Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ "Majerus takes medical leave at SLU, won't coach 2012-13". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. August 24, 2012. 
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ "Rick Majerus, ex-SLU coach, dies at 64". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. December 1, 2012. 
  19. ^ http://www.ksdk.com/rss/article/350522/6/Public-memorial-planned-to-remember-Rick-Majerus
  20. ^ http://www.slubillikens.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=27200&ATCLID=205820707

External links[edit]