Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 12/8/12
ST. LOUIS (AP) Kwamain Mitchell recalled the first time Rick Majerus visited his home, trying to recruit him to Saint Louis. Mitchell's mother made a big meal and after a plate Mitchell was full. Majerus wasn't, took a look at Mitchell and said, "With that body you can eat three or four more plates." Hundreds of people turned out at Chaifetz Pavilion on the SLU campus Friday to honor the Billikens basketball coach who died Dec. 1 of heart failure at the age of 64. He was remembered fondly, with speakers describing him as funny but passionate, exacting but caring, and a coaching genius who got the best out of his players both on and off the court. Large photographs near the front showed the rotund coach surrounded by young men a foot taller, working the sidelines, seated on a stool patiently teaching attentive players. Dozens of plays drawn up by Majerus, scribbled in marker on white paper, encircled the room, a practice gym where Majerus spent countless hours passing on his basketball knowledge. Interim coach Jim Crews, whose team is 5-3 so far this season, said Majerus has made a mark that has resonated through the sport. "His fingerprint is all over college basketball," Crews said. "Everywhere you go, there he is." Majerus demanded effort both in the classroom and on the court. Two of his SLU players, Brian Conklin and Kevin Lisch, were academic all-Americans. His success on the court was impressive, too - a 517-216 record in 25 seasons, just one of which had a losing record. He had 15 20-win seasons and two 30-win seasons. He led Utah to the 1998 NCAA finals and took 12 teams to the NCAA tournament, winning at least one game in all but one of those appearances. Milwaukee-born Majerus played on the freshman team at Marquette and got his coaching start as an assistant under Al McGuire in 1971. He was head coach at Marquette from 1983-86, Ball State from 1987-89, Utah from 1989-2004 and, after a few years working as an ESPN commentator, Saint Louis for the past five seasons. His biggest success was at Utah: A 323-95 record with 10 conference championships in 13 seasons. Three of his Utah players were first-round NBA draft picks. At SLU, Majerus turned around a program in a decade-long decline. He brought in players from outside the U.S. and got the most out of overlooked prospects, his teams known for their gritty defense. Majerus was 95-69 and led the Billikens to the third round of the NCAA tourney last season, the team's first appearance in the tournament since 2000. Majerus had been in ill health on and off for years, battling weight and heart problems. He had a stent inserted in August 2011 and missed some games last season after gashing his leg in a collision with players. He was undergoing evaluation and treatment in California for ongoing heart trouble and the school announced he was on leave in late August. Then in November came the announcement that he would not return. Crews said he learned a lot of basketball from Majerus, but he learned a lot more about life. "Family, friends, food, basketball, players - if that was involved Rick was singing and whistling a happy tune," Crews said. "It was always about people and that was what made Rick so special."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk

Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell hit in groin by LeBron pass

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story

Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime

Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

Brewers Association sends Peyton Manning case of craft beer

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

Kevin McHale: James Harden being out of shape hurt Rockets early

WATCH: Kevin Love re-injures left shoulder

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker