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Rick Majerus, a proven winner as a college basketball coach, dies

December 01, 2012|By Dan Loumena
  • Utah Coach Rick Majerus instructs his players during a 1998 NCAA tournament game against Arizona.
Utah Coach Rick Majerus instructs his players during a 1998 NCAA tournament… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Rick Majerus, who had only one losing record in 25 seasons of coaching college basketball, has died. He was 64.

Majerus, a usually jovial and often brash coach, had a history of heart problems and said last month that he would not be returning to Saint Louis University because of his cardiac condition.

John Huntsman, a longtime friend of Majerus, confirmed in a statement that Majerus died of heart failure in a Los Angeles hospital.

"Majerus was one of the premiere coaches in college basketball history and a dedicated mentor to thousands of young men and women. We will miss him greatly," Hunstman said in a statement that he released to the Salt Lake City Tribune.

It was first reported by Porter Moser, a former assistant coach, on Twitter: "RIP to my friend and mentor coach Majerus. I learned so much about the game and life. We lost one of the best! My heart is heavy tonight."

Majerus had an overall record of 517-216 at four colleges, including a stellar 323-95 mark at Utah from 1989-2004. In five seasons at Saint Louis the Billikens were 95-69. He began his career at Marquette, his alma mater, in 1983 and also coached at Ball State from 1987-89.

His 1997-98 Utah team, featuring Andre Miller at guard, made it to the NCAA championship game against Kentucky, losing 78-69. The Utes finished that season with a 30-4 record, the second time Utah had won 30 games under Majerus.

A dozen times his teams advanced to the NCAA tournament and four others played in the NIT.

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