ST. LOUIS - Saint Louis University's 72-62 win today against Illinois-Springfield is the 500th victory of Billiken head coach Rick Majerus' career. The milestone accompanies his 12 conference regular-season and five conference tournament championships, 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, four Sweet Sixteens, two Elite Eights and one appearance in the national championship game.
Majerus' career includes 323 victories at Utah, 78 at Saint Louis, 56 at Marquette and 43 at Ball State. In 25 years of coaching, Majerus' .705 winning percentage is among the top 20 of all active coaches with a minimum of five years as head coach.
"Five hundred (500) is just a number," Majerus said. "The most significant numbers are the 94 percent of my players who have graduated, the 200-plus players on the honor roll, the nine Academic All-Americans and the two Rhodes Scholar candidates that I have been honored to coach. I will always be most proud of my players' accomplishments in the classroom. That goes from my players who gave A efforts for their C+ averages, to players like Drew Hansen, an Academic All-American who earned a law degree from Stanford University."
Hansen played on Majerus' Utah team that reached the National Championship game in 1998. Majerus notes that one of his proudest accomplishments is having the only team with three Academic All-Americans to play in a Final Four, the others being Michael Doleac and Hanno Mottola. His 1998 Utah team is also the only team in the history of the Final Four to start two Academic All-Americans.
When asked what he remembers most of his coaching career thus far, Majerus replied, "The players, their families and their coaches, the relationships with all of them and seeing them as self-assured, happy young men who received a quality education at each of the institutions that it has been an honor and a privilege to coach. Education has always been priority No. 1, and I respect the fact that I have had student-athletes who were committed - and whose families were committed - to the pursuit of academic excellence."Luckily I was most fortunate to work with excellent assistant coaches as well as with six icons of the game who shared their time and mentored me throughout my coaching career," Majerus continued. "It was an honor and a privilege to work with Al McGuire and Hank Raymonds, then I caught on with the great Don Nelson and Del Harris and was extraordinarily fortunate to befriend Don Donoher and George Karl, each of whom impacted my career and helped me to become a much better coach. These six giants of the game were instrumental in our success and any team that I have coached and any player that played for me was the beneficiary of their great skills and expertise. These men were teachers and coaches extraordinaire who helped me a lot along the way."