College basketball lost one of its larger-than-life characters in Rick Majerus today. He was 64-years old. Last August, Majerus abruptly resigned from Saint Louis University last August for health reasons. Despite his persona, Majerus had several health issues including his most obvious battle with his weight.
Majerus got his start in coaching under Al McGuire at Marquette. When McGuire left the program in 1977, Hank Raymonds (an assistant under McGuire) became the head coach with Majerus as his top assistant. Raymonds retired in 1983 with Majerus taking over the program. After a successful run with the Eagles (now the Golden Eagles), Majerus became an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks.
He returned to the college ranks and coached Ball State. He went on to coach Utah and lead the Utes to the Final Four in 1998. He left Utah in January of 2004 after 15 seasons and 323 victories due to heart concerns. He moved into the broadcast booth before agreeing to coach USC but resigning a few days later again siting his health. After heading back to the broadcast booth, he finally returned to coaching with SLU. Before leaving SLU, he helped bring the program back to its feet including upgrading its facilities.
As a DePaul fan, McGuire left a legacy in college basketball that was engrained in Majerus. His press conferences, sayings and antics were entertaining. Like McGuire, he was a huge personality and credit to the game of basketball. There’s no doubt that college basketball lost a great man today.