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Thread: Rick Majerus leads the St. Louis Billikens to play the Western Mustangs Canada!

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    Default Rick Majerus leads the St. Louis Billikens to play the Western Mustangs Canada!


    Rick Majerus: An inside look at the man behind the bench

    August 23: Western Mustangs vs St. Louis Billikens

    The St. Louis Billikens will travel north of the border to play the Western Mustangs at Alumni Hall on August 23. As the mainstay in the basketball rich Atlantic 10 conference, they will certainly be looking to get back to NCAA tournament form. The Billikens are led by legendary coach Rick Majerus, an icon in North American basketball circles. Majerus will be coaching against Brad Campbell who donned the purple and white as a Western Mustang in the early 90s. This game will feature a resurgent Billiken squad against a restructured Mustang lineup featuring many of the top recruits in Canada in their first collegiate action.

    Majerus, a Marquette University graduate, has been a student of the game yearning for even more success with his Billikens. A Wisconsin native, he started off his career as an assistant with his alma mater. He then moved to the NBA where he was an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1986-87 season. He landed his first head coaching gig in the Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) in Muncie, Indiana at Ball State, famous for having The Late Show host David Letterman as an alumnus. Majerus led Ball State to the NCAA tournament that year.

    In 1989 he landed at the University of Utah in the heart of Salt Lake City. It is safe to say he trailblazed a tradition of excellence in this institution, which spread throughout Utah’s entire athletics program. Once he stepped foot on the campus though, the Ute Nation was apparent. They dominated the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) during his tenure. In the 16 years he coached there, the Utes won 10 conference titles and three tournament conference titles. This was in their conference alone. Nationally, the University of Utah excelled in post-season play. Majerus led them to two National Invitational Tournament (NIT) appearances including one NIT final four. He led them to an astounding 10 NCAA tournament appearances, including four trips to the Sweet 16, two to the Elite 8 and one to the Final Four in 1998, where they made it to the National Championship before losing to the University of Kentucky.

    Majerus led Utah to the eighth best winning percentage of all of NCAA Division 1 basketball teams in the 1990s. He led the Utes to 11 twenty-plus win seasons. He also coached some spectacular individuals. His teams have had five All-Americans including two who were consensus All-Americans. He coached four academic All-Americans, eight conference players of the year award winners, and 19 first team all-conference talents.

    Majerus has also produced many NBA-caliber players. Since 1997 he has had four of his players taken in the NBA draft, including three lottery picks. Six in total have been drafted to the NBA with seven of his former players making NBA rosters. Keith Van Horne was drafted second overall in the 1998 draft by the New Jersey Nets and was named to the All Rookie team. Andre Miller, a Ute from 1995-1998, was drafted eighth overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers and also was named to the All Rookie team. He is currently playing with the Denver Nuggets. Other NBA players who have played for Majerus are Michael Doleac, Hanno Mottola, Britton Johnsen, Josh Grant and Brian Wilson.

    After Majerus left the University of Utah due to health reasons, he began to work for ESPN as a broadcaster. He has been linked to several high profile coaching jobs in both the NCAA and NBA over the years since. In 2005 he accepted the head coaching position at the University of Southern California, but due to health reasons he resigned. It was not until 2007 when the University of St. Louis came calling that he found the right fit to return to the hardwood. Majerus decided to take on the challenge and transform another program like he did with the University of Utah.

    In two short years with the Billikens, Coach Majerus led the team to its first Atlantic 10 tournament in 2009, their first post-season invitation on the heels of a 23-win season in 2009-10 where they made it to the third round of the College Basketball Invitational Tournament. Despite the downturn last season, the team is primed to make a deep run in the conference this year and make it to a post-season tournament once again. With the addition of a strong recruiting class including a Canadian from Toronto, their tour North of the 49th will be one that will catapult their season. With Majerus’ pedigree and his knack for getting the most out of his players, the future looks bright for the Billiken program.

    Game time on Tuesday, August 23 is 7 p.m. at Alumni Hall.
    Tickets are available by visiting Western Mustangs Tickets or calling
    1-519-661-3090

    Mustangs Group Sales and Season Tickets Office
    The University of Western Ontario
    Thames Hall, Rm 3170
    PH: 519-661-4077
    tickets at uwo.ca

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