Billikens face future without Majerus
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
ST. LOUIS — Jim Crews found out a few days before the rest of them did. He had to — so he could say yes to a job he never expected to take.
The captains found out on a conference call. Kwamain Mitchell was still home for the summer; Dwayne Evans and Cody Ellis were already back at school. They had to help break the news to their teammates.
The rest of the world found out Aug. 24, the announcement coming as 610 somber words in a press release: After a summer (and years, really) spent battling poor health, Saint Louis men’s basketball coach Rick Majerus would be taking a leave of absence and miss the 2012-13 season because of heart issues.
Friday afternoon, the school announced that the leave of absence had turned into Majerus not returning to Saint Louis at all, a decision bringing with it a sense of frightening finality.
“When you first hear it, it doesn’t sound right,” SLU assistant coach Tanner Bronson told USA TODAY Sports by phone Friday night. “When news like this happens, it takes awhile to settle in. … The sport, it won’t be the same without him.
“Our guys are really trying to do our best and support Coach, have him in our prayers, things like that — encourage him in any way possible, trying to do their best to honor him on the court with their season.”
Majerus remains in California receiving treatment for a serious heart condition. Details of the condition have not been made public, and those involved in the Saint Louis basketball program are unaware of the type and extent of heart condition Majerus has.
It’s looking more and more like Saint Louis’ loss to Michigan State, a 65-61 nail-biter in the NCAA tournament’s third round, will be the final chapter of Majerus’ illustrious coaching career.
“I’m praying for him every night,” Mitchell, the Billikens’ redshirt senior guard, said last week. “Keeping Coach in my prayers every night.”
Angie Kvidera, Majerus’ girlfriend, has known Majerus for 30 years and said that Majerus very rarely talks about his health issues, even with his sisters. … [For more on Billikens face future without Majerus, click here.]