Rick Majerus: Rebuilding A Program No Excuse To Tear Down Yourself

Rob Carr - Getty Images

Rick Majerus' heart - and the possibly poor job he's done paying attention to it - have forced him once again to step away from the game he loves. Little guys everywhere are a little lesser for it.

I know that Saint Louis University, as a member of the Atlantic-10, is technically not within our scope here at Mid-Major Madness, but I just couldn't let this news go by unspoken for.

Rick Majerus had spent a lot of time and effort over his life building the University of Utah basketball program from nothingness into a contender - they were 323-95 in fifteen seasons with him at the helm.

It showed in his health, as the man had a total of seven heart bypass surgeries (three of which caused and/or were related to coaching seasons at Utah that were cut short) and a well-documented history of being obese and/or overweight.

After four seasons away, he came to SLU and turned them from a 16-15 team in '07-'08 to a 26-8 squad last season that nobody liked playing. All that is coming to a sudden halt now, as Majerus has announced that he will be taking the entire 2012-13 season off from coaching the Billikens.

In general, coaches burning out from stress is nothing new. Just in recent years, there's been everything from Urban Meyer retiring from the stress to Skip Prosser dropping dead from a heart attack at only 56 years old. Coaching, as everyone is likely well aware, is a very stressful and demanding job. When you do things like allow yourself to gain a ton of weight, you're only stacking one more card on top of that house of spades and hoping like hell that it doesn't topple over.

As I said, I know Saint Louis isn't necessarily one of the little guys (I disagree, having lived in Saint Louis, seen the games and the crowds, but I don't run this site and make the rules). That said, when the lesser programs everywhere make a big bang and start elevating the standard, it benefits nobody that the coach in charge of that rise does such a poor job managing his health that he has to step away just when things start to come together.

Sure, that's speculative on my part, but any person with most of their mental faculties intact should have a very keen eye on their health after seven heart bypass surgeries and less-than-awesome weight management. Or maybe that's just my foolish assumption that common sense is exactly that - common. Either way, no offense to his replacement Jim Crews, the Billikens, college basketball, and all those aspiring to make something out of nothing are a little lesser for it today.

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