Over the weekend, legendary college coach Rick Majerus passed away at the age of 64. Most famously, Majerus coached an unheralded Utah program into national relevance and an almost-championship — the team led powerhouse Kentucky by 10 points at halftime of the 1998 national title game before succumbing. And though he ended his career at St. Louis University, where he retired after the 2012 tournament, it’s for his accomplishments at Utah that he’ll be best remembered.
That’s why it’s fitting that Utah will also be paying him his most touching compliment. The university has announced that a huge replica of one of Majerus’ famous sweaters, seen in the picture above, will hang from the rafters of the Jon M. Huntsman Center, where the team plays its home games. (Teams traditionally hang the jerseys of former players from the rafters as tribute, and sometimes use the jersey number 1 for past coaches.)
Majerus and many of his former players had a bond that went past the usual coach-player relationship. At his last press conference, which took place after St. Louis’ tournament loss to Michigan State at the end of last season, during the presser, both Coach Majerus and senior Brian Conklin broke down in tears when talking about what they meant to each other. Read Gary Parrish’s take on the press conference here, and watch the simultaneously moving testimonials from Majerus and Conklin below.
He will be missed.