ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Saint Louis University announced Friday that Rick Majerus will not return as head coach of the Billiken men’s basketball team. Current health issues preclude his return to coaching in the immediate future.
Majerus continues to undergo evaluation and treatment in California for an ongoing serious heart condition. Majerus and his representatives have requested that SLU’s department of athletics not provide any additional details regarding his health.
“Coach Majerus’ health is of the utmost importance, and our thoughts and prayers are with him as he faces his challenges,” said Director of Athletics Chris May. “We are thankful for Rick’s efforts as he succeeded by all accounts as our head men’s basketball coach. This is an exciting season for the program, and we think it is important to communicate, with transparency, to the student-athletes, staff and our loyal fans that Rick will not be returning.
“The focus for this season does not change,” May added. “Rick built this team to be in a position to compete for championships, and we will move forward with that same goal. We will continue to invest all of our resources to ensure that this team, under the leadership of interim head coach Jim Crews, is put in the best position possible to succeed.
“We would like to express our utmost appreciation to Jon M. Huntsman Sr., a close and trusted friend to Coach Majerus,” May said. “Mr. Huntsman was a true godsend as we worked closely together regarding Rick’s welfare and relationship with the Billikens.”
“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,” University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. said. “We continue to pray for Rick and his family and friends during this difficult time.”
In five years as SLU’s head coach, Majerus put the men’s basketball program back on the map. Last season, he guided the Billikens to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, SLU’s first NCAA appearance since 2000. In addition, the Billikens topped Memphis in the second round for their first NCAA Tournament win since 1998. Saint Louis entered the national polls for the first time since the 1994-95 season.
Additional highlights of the Majerus era at SLU include the Billikens reaching the final of the postseason College Basketball Invitational (CBI) in 2009-10. Last year, the Billikens captured the ESPN 76 Classic in Anaheim, SLU’s first in-season tournament title since 1986.
Majerus’ 25-year career record is 517-216. His five-year SLU record is 95-69. Majerus has taken 12 teams to the NCAA Tournament and four to the NIT during his career. His 1998 University of Utah team advanced to the NCAA championship final. Majerus has reached the 20-win plateau 15 times, including two seasons with 30 wins.
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 has coached six Academic All-Americans in his career, including two with the Billikens.
“I want to thank Saint Louis University and director of athletics Chris May for the sincere thoughtfulness and genuine care they have for Rick during a challenging time,” Huntsman said. “Rick put his heart and soul into the team, and though he wishes he could be on the court, he will be pulling for the Billikens to have another great year. Rick sends his heartfelt gratitude for a dedicated and superb basketball team and coaching staff, together with the support of the great Billiken fans and the Saint Louis University department of athletics.”
Fans wishing to send Majerus items of support, such as cards or letters, may do so by sending the items to Rick Majerus, Chaifetz Arena, 3330 Laclede Ave., St. Louis MO 63103. All items will be sent directly to Majerus. Fans also will have the opportunity to sign “Get Well Soon” cards at upcoming Billikens’ games.
The department of athletics plans to honor Majerus at a SLU home game during the 2013 Atlantic 10 Conference season.