Rick Majerus's Brief MAC Impact

Rob Carr

The iconic and perennially-successful basketball coach passed away at 64 years of age, battling health issues in recent years. He is most known for coaching at Utah, but like many coaches, made his mark on the MAC before all that.

He coached just two seasons in Ball State, from 1987-1989. He inherited a 9-18 team, went .500 in his first year then had the Cardinals tearing through everybody, finishing with a MAC Championship and a 29-3 record. He did it the way many MAC teams even today still quickly build a contender: a mixture of junior college and Division I transfers, including one from his previous stop at Marquette. Along the way they beat three Big Ten teams, attained a 9-seed, rallied to beat Pittsburgh in the first round and fell to Illinois 72-60, finishing with a No. 18 ranking, breaking new ground for the Cardinals: it was the first time they made the AP top 25 or won a game in the NCAAs. It was that success which vaulted him to Utah.

The 1990 team gets more attention, given that they made the Sweet 16 and gave everything they had against eventual champion UNLV, but that was a team Majerus obviously helped build.

The other moment in which he crossed paths with #MACsketball lore was the 1999 tournament, with Utah as a 2-seed, a senseless victim of Wally World. It was the second game in a row Szczerbiak put the RedHawks on his back and willed them to an NCAA tournament upset. But it was so much more. Between Majerus and Charlie Coles, they were the greatest convergence of skilled coaches who enjoy sweaters.

Obviously he did many other great things at Utah, including back-to-back Final Fours leading up to that '99 season, but like many great coaches, it all started in our conference.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Hustle Belt

You must be a member of Hustle Belt to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hustle Belt. You should read them.

Join Hustle Belt

You must be a member of Hustle Belt to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hustle Belt. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker