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Billikens to Honor Former Coach Rick Majerus on Saturday

by Brian Kunderman

Family, friends and former players of legendary Billiken head coach Rick Majerus will be on hand for a special recognition of the Hall of Fame coach at halftime of Saturday’s men’s basketball game against Southern Illinois. The game tips at 3 p.m.

Today (Dec. 1) marks the 10-year anniversary of Majerus’ passing at the age of 64.

“There is no better way to memorialize and celebrate Coach Majerus than to bring many of his former players and staff back to St. Louis for a game,” SLU Director of Athletics Chris May said. “Coach Majerus made a lasting impact on our basketball program, Saint Louis University, and the community. We are especially grateful for the opportunity to host Coach Majerus’ sister, Jodi, and many of his family and friends in addition to his former players.”

Majerus served as the Billikens’ head coach for five years from 2007-12. He was selected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.

Majerus posted a 95-69 record at SLU and guided the Billikens to the NCAA Tournament in his final season in 2012, which was SLU’s first NCAA appearance in 12 years. The Billikens would go on to make two additional NCAA Tournament appearances with a core group of players recruited to SLU by Majerus.

In a 25-year career that included stints at Marquette, Ball State, Utah and Saint Louis, Majerus won a total of 517 games. He reached the postseason 17 times, and his 12 NCAA Tournament appearances included a spot in the 1998 national championship game with Utah.

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 coached six Academic All-Americans in his career, including two with the Billikens.

Majerus was introduced as the Billikens’ head coach on April 30, 2007, before a cheering throng of fans at a news conference at the Busch Student Center on the SLU campus.

He would go on to post winning records in each of his first three seasons, including the 2009-10 campaign that saw the Billikens register 23 wins and advance to the postseason College Basketball Invitational championship round.

It was Majerus’ final season as a head coach – 2011-12 – that saw the fruits of his labor pay off. Armed with a veteran squad, SLU jumped out to a 6-0 record. The final four games of that stretch were against major-conference opponents Washington, Boston College, Villanova and Oklahoma. The nation took notice, and the Billikens achieved a top-25 ranking after their fast start. Saint Louis’ 72-62 victory over Illinois-Springfield that season was the 500th win of Majerus’ career.

SLU would go on to capture a first-round bye and the No. 2 seed at the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament after going 12-4 in the competitive league slate. The end result was an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament, giving SLU its first at-large appearance since 1998.

Majerus led the No. 9-seed Billikens to a 61-54 victory against Memphis in the first round in Columbus, Ohio. The Billikens bowed out of the tournament after a hard-fought 65-61 loss against No. 1 seed Michigan State, which would be Majerus’ final game.

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