Rick Majerus, loving brother and uncle, dedicated friend, legendary basketball coach and mentor to thousands of young men and women, passed away December 1, 2012, in Los Angeles, California.
Rick Majerus was born February 17, 1948, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin to the late Raymond and Alyce Majerus. Rick admired his father and adored his mother, both of whom instilled the core values of the importance of love of family, friends and education. Rick cared deeply about his sisters, Jodi and Tracy.
Rick graduated from Marquette University High School and went on to receive a Bachelors and Masters degree from Marquette University. During his freshman year at MU, Rick played basketball for the Warriors. His love of the game and his desire to share it with others led him to coach young men's teams at St. Sebastian's Grade School and Marquette University High School during his college years.
Rick got his first college coaching experience when he joined the Marquette staff that led the Warriors to the NCAA National Championship in 1977. After leaving Marquette in 1983, Rick was recruited to the NBA, serving as Assistant Coach to the Milwaukee Bucks where he enjoyed coaching with Don Nelson and making the NBA playoffs in his first year. He moved on to Ball State in 1987, where his reputation as Head Coach grew. The Cardinals's impressive record and NCAA conference championship earned Rick National Coach of the Year honors, along with countless awards and recognition by the time he left in 1989.
Following Ball State, Rick coached 15 seasons winning over 300 games as Head Coach of University of Utah. His teams played in ten NCAA post-season tournaments, and during the 1997-98 season the Utes lost to Kentucky in the NCAA finals in Indianapolis. Once again, Rick was awarded National Coach of the Year honors by multiple organizations before he signed a three-year contract with ESPN as a studio analyst.
From 2007 through mid-2012, Rick led the Saint Louis University Billikens to their first national ranking since 1994 and finished his last season 26-8, the second most wins in school history.
Throughout his 25-year coaching career, Rick established himself among the elite college basketball coaches by achieving 517 career wins and taking 12 teams to NCAA tournaments, never losing a first-round game. He took four teams to the NIT and one to the CBE Tournament Finals. As both mentor and counselor, with an emphasis on education, Rick's teams graduated over 90% of his players and he developed numerous Academic All-Conference players. Rick also helped launch a number of NBA careers.
While his coaching record was spectacular, Rick's lasting legacy will be the numerous young men that he helped mold, and the impact that they have made and will continue to make as they carry his values to their families and communities.
Above all, Rick will be remembered as fiercely loyal to his family and friends. Rick cared deeply about others; always making sure everyone else came first. Rick's kindness was only unmatched by his generosity to those in need. Rick was one of the funniest people around, often using his own personal life stories to put a smile on others' faces. Thus, his book, entitled, "My Life on a Napkin," became a best seller. Everyone considered Rick their "best friend." He will be remembered fondly and missed dearly.
Rick is survived by his siblings, Jodi Majerus of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Tracy Dowd of Huntington, New York, and nieces, Tory Bernsen and Kelly Dowd, as well as other family members and friends.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 8, 2012 at Church of Gesu, 1145 West Wisconsin Avenue.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Rick's memory to the Majerus Family Foundation c/o Shannon Allen, Trustee, Friebert, Finerty & St. John, 330 East Kilbourn, Suite 1250, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202.
Schramka Funeral Home
7841 W. Appleton Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53218