Former Marquette basketball coach dies of heart failure at 64

Rick Majerus

Former Marquette man’s basketball head and assistant coach Rick Majerus died Saturday of heart failure in a Los Angeles hospital. He was 64.

Majerus, who attended Marquette University High School and Marquette University (History, ’70), served as a Marquette assistant coach from 1971-83, including the 1977 championship season, before taking over as head coach from 1983 to 1986. He followed up his career at Marquette with a one-year stint as a Milwaukee Bucks assistant from 1986-87. Majerus also helmed Ball State University, the University of Utah and, most recently, St. Louis University as a coach.

“As an institution, a program, and as a coach, we are saddened by Coach Majerus’ passing,” Marquette coach Buzz Williams told “The game has lost one of the great innovators whose mark will never be forgotten.”

Majerus’ struggles with his health in recent years were well documented. In 2004, he accepted the head-coaching job at the University of Southern California but resigned his position five days later, citing health reasons.

On Aug. 24, Majerus announced he would not coach St. Louis in 2012-13 because of additional health problems. On Nov. 16, the university announced that Majerus would not return as coach.

Former Marquette basketball player and current Boston Celtics head coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers was in Milwaukee with the Celtics playing the Bucks on Saturday night.

“That’s a tough one for me,” Rivers told of Majerus’ death. “He’s the one that gave me my name … I knew before the game that he wasn’t going to make it through the night. I don’t want to talk much about it.”

A funeral mass for Majerus will take place at the Church of the Gesu at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday before Marquette takes on Wisconsin at 5 p.m.