Florida coach Billy Donovan was sad to hear the news of the passing of a peer in the coaching fraternity over the weekend.
Long-time college basketball coach Rick Majerus died at 64 on Saturday in a Los Angeles hospital of heart failure. Majerus, who took a medical leave of absence from his job at Saint Louis this past summer, was awaiting a heart transplant at the time of his death.
“I knew him well,” Donovan said. “I wouldn’t say I knew him great. Very sad. Great coach. I think, a great character, a funny guy. Somebody that loved the game of basketball.”
Donovan recalled that when Majerus was a young assistant at Marquette in the early 1980s under Al McGuire, he used to attend summer league games at New York City playgrounds to scout players. Donovan was there too, keeping score to make extra cash.
In 25 seasons as a college head coach with Marquette, Ball State, Utah and Saint Louis, Majerus posted a 517-215 record. In 1998, Majerus led Utah to the NCAA Finals, losing to national champion Kentucky 78-69.
“He’s always kind of been around college basketball,” Donovan said. “He’s been involved. The job that he did at Utah, the job that he helped get done at Marquette, obviously Saint Louis played really well last year, had a good year. I think he’ll be missed, but I think a lot of people that look at Rick Majerus they look at him at a distance and they don’t know that he was a great guy, he was a funny guy and he was an enjoyable guy to be around.”