Rick Majerus: College Basketball Legend Passes Away at Age 64

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIDecember 1, 2012

Former Marquette and Utah head basketball coach Rick Majerus died Saturday night at the age of 64, according to Nicole Auerbach and Eric Prisbell of USA Today.

Multiple outlets have reported this sad news, which includes a report by The University News. It passed along that, "Majerus, 64, had been in a California hospital undergoing evaluation for a serious heart condition."

Loyola University Chicago head coach Porter Moser offered kind words expressing the impact Majerus had on his career:

RIP to my friend and mentor Coach Majerus. I learned so much about the game and life. We lost a One of the best! My heart is heavy tonight.

— Porter Moser (@PorterMoser) December 2, 2012

Moser was an assistant under Majerus at Saint Louis University, where Majerus most recently coached. He announced earlier this summer that he was taking a leave of absence from the team this season due to “an ongoing heart condition,” as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Tom Timmerman reported. 

The University News also shared this statement from university president Lawrence Biondi, S.J., which was released when the coach took his leave of absence:

Rick returned our program to national prominence, and Billiken fans everywhere will be forever grateful for his deep commitment to winning, and his even deeper commitment to our student-athletes. We continue to pray for Rick and his family and friends during this difficult time.

Majerus is a Wisconsin native and played for Marquette as a student-athlete. He worked for over a decade as an assistant for the Golden Eagles before becoming head coach in 1983.

He stayed with his alma mater until 1986 and then spent a brief time as an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks. He then took his second head-coaching job in 1987 with Ball State.

His time in Indiana was brief, and in 1989, Majerus started his long and productive tenure at Utah. He had a .773 winning percentage with the Utes and brought the team to the brink of a national title, finishing as national runners-up in the 1997-98 season.

Majerus left Utah in 2004 and accepted a position as USC’s head coach later that year. However, he backed out of his decision just days after making it due to concerns that his health would not allow him to do the job.

After three years away from coaching, he accepted the head coaching position at Saint Louis and went 98-72 in his time with the school. He has an overall coaching record of 517-215.

Majerus had a lively personality that he never hid during his coaching career and was adored by the fanbases of the teams he coached. He will be remembered as one of the great college coaches of his generation.