Saint Louis University announced today that head men’s basketball coach Rick Majerus is dealing with a health issue that will prevent him from coaching this season. Jim Crews has been named interim head coach for the 2012-13 campaign.
“Rick is in a California hospital undergoing evaluation and treatment for an ongoing heart condition,” Director of Athletics Chris May said. “His health is the most important issue right now, and our hope is for full and complete recovery.”
“I appreciate what Rick has done to return SLU men’s basketball to national prominence,” University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. said. “I know that he would like to be here with his players and coaches this season, and all of us at SLU will keep Rick in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
While University administrators have spoken with Majerus’ physicians about his condition, the University cannot provide any additional medical information.
Crews, who joined the SLU coaching staff last fall, begins duties as interim head coach immediately.
“The players are being informed of coach Majerus’ condition and the subsequent announcement of Jim Crews’ appointment,” May said. “It is an emotional time, and while our thoughts and prayers are with Rick, our focus is on our student-athletes and continuing to give them the best experience possible.
“Jim Crews is a long-time professional and is all-in with the task of leading the program this year,” May said. “He has led teams to numerous NCAA Tournaments, which is our goal. We welcome and encourage the Billiken faithful and the community to rally around this group of young men as we continue to prepare for what promises to be an exciting basketball season.”
The University has not made a decision about the head-coaching position for the 2013-14 season.
In his five years as SLU’s head coach, Majerus has taken the program to new heights. Last season, he guided the Billikens to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, SLU’s first NCAA appearance since 2000. In addition, the Billikens topped Memphis in the second round for their first NCAA Tournament win since 1998. Majerus’ 25-year career record of 517-216 stands among the elite in college basketball for active coaches. He is 95-69 in five years at SLU.
Crews joined the SLU coaching staff just before the start of practice last season. A 24-year head-coaching veteran, he served as head coach at Army for seven seasons (2002-09). Prior to his appointment at West Point, Crews coached for 17 years at the University of Evansville and played and coached at Indiana University. He has a career head-coaching record of 354-348.
Crews made four trips to the NCAA Tournament as head coach at Evansville and was a member of two NCAA championship teams during his time at Indiana. He was a senior on the 1976 Hoosiers squad that rolled to a 32-0 record and a national championship, the last time a Division I men’s program has gone undefeated. After graduating from IU, Crews returned to the Hoosiers and served an eight-year stint on Bob Knight’s coaching staff, where he won another national title in 1981.
Counting his tenure as a player and coach at Indiana, a head coach at Evansville and an assistant coach at Saint Louis, Crews has been a part of 14 NCAA Tournament teams.
“Coach Majerus is not only a colleague, but a dear friend, so this is a difficult time,” Crews said. “We are fortunate to have a group of outstanding young men. This past year, they have been a delight to work with, and our staff is excited to serve them. Hopefully, our fans will rally behind this team and enjoy a great season.”