Former SLU coach Rick Majerus named to college basketball hall of fame

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Photo credit (Photo by Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/MCT/Sipa USA)

ST. LOUIS – The late Rick Majerus, who served as Saint Louis University's men's basketball coach for five years from 2007-12, has been selected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2019. He will officially be enshrined on Nov. 24 in Kansas City, Mo., at the 2019 National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Celebration presented by Nike. 

Majerus posted a 95-69 record at SLU and guided the Billikens to the NCAA Tournament in his final season in 2012, which was SLU's first NCAA appearance in 12 years. The Billikens would go on to make two additional NCAA Tournament appearances with Majerus' core group of players.

They broke records, won championships and changed the game!Congratulations to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2019!--

— National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (@CBHOF) April 2, 2019

Majerus won 517 games in a 25-year career that included stints at Marquette, Ball State, Utah and Saint Louis. He reached the postseason 17 times, and his 12 NCAA Tournament appearances included a spot in the 1998 national championship game with Utah.

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 coached six Academic All-Americans in his career, including two with the Billikens.

Also entering the Hall of Fame as part of the 2019 class are Indiana's Calbert Cheaney, Duke's Shane Battier, Purdue's Terry Dischinger, Providence's Ernie DiGregorio, UNLV's Larry Johnson and Stanford's Todd Lichti. Former coaches Homer Drew and Lute Olson are also entering the Hall of Fame.

Cheaney, the Indiana and Big Ten all-time leading scorer, served as an assistant coach for three seasons (2013-16) under Jim Crews at Saint Louis.

Majerus was introduced as the Billikens' head coach on April 30, 2007, before a cheering throng of fans at a news conference at the Busch Student Center on the SLU campus.

He would go on to post winning records in each of his first three seasons, including the 2009-10 campaign that saw the Billikens register 23 wins and advance to the postseason College Basketball Invitational championship round. 

It was Majerus' final season as a head coach – 2011-12 – that saw the fruits of his labor pay off. Armed with a veteran squad, SLU jumped out to a 6-0 record. The final four games of that stretch were against major-conference opponents Washington, Boston College, Villanova and Oklahoma. The nation took notice, and the Billikens achieved a top-25 ranking after their fast start. Saint Louis' 72-62 victory over Illinois-Springfield that season was the 500th win of Majerus' career. 

SLU would go on to capture a first-round bye and the No. 2 seed at the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament after going 12-4 in the competitive league slate. The end result was an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament, giving SLU its first at-large appearance since 1998.

Majerus led the No. 9-seed Billikens to a 61-54 victory against Memphis in the first round in Columbus, Ohio. The Billikens bowed out of the tournament after a hard-fought 65-61 loss against No. 1 seed Michigan State, which would be Majerus' final game.

Majerus was unable to coach the Billikens in 2012-13. It was announced in August 2012 that he would take a leave of absence for the season while dealing with a heart condition. In November 2012, it was announced he would not return to the University. Majerus passed away on December 1, 2012. 

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