Utah will honor former coach Rick Majerus, who died Saturday of heart failure, Utah athletics director Chris Hill announced on Monday morning.
In addition to wearing black patches on their uniforms for the remainder of the season, the Utes will observe a moment of silence in the Huntsman Center, followed by a video, before taking on Boise State on Wednesday night. Later in the season, plans will be made to retire the white sweater Majerus made popular when coaching the team.
The moves all are made to honor the man Hill calls one of the best coaches in the program’s history. Majerus turned Utah into a national power during his tenure, consistently having success in the NCAA Tournament and advancing to the title game in 1998 before losing to Kentucky.
“If I were to use one word, it would be savant,” Hill said. “Rick was a coaching savant. He gave everything he had to the game, and he was one of the best coaches that I’ve ever been around.”
Majerus coached his last game in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, taking Saint Louis to the second round and pushing top-seeded Michigan State to the brink before falling to the Spartans. Current Utah assistant Phil Cullen played for Majerus and still recalls his preparation on both ends of the floor.
Cullen later saw Majerus on the recruiting trail. Whenever the two would see each other, Majerus would tell his former player how proud he was of the coach and the person he’s turned out to be.
“He was just a master at taking stuff away from the other team,” Cullen said. “I remember we would play teams and we would be doing stuff they had no idea we were capable of. Most coaches tell their former players not to get into coaching, but Rick would always encourage it. Outside of my father and a few other people, he’s had the most influence on me out of anyone in my life.”
The Associated Press reported that a funeral for Majerus will be held at 10:30 a.m. MST on Saturday in Milwaukee, which is where the coach was born.
A big week
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said facing Boise State and BYU on Wednesday and Saturday will be similar to what his team will see in a month, when the Pac-12 Conference season kicks off in earnest.
The Utes will be at home against the Broncos then travel to Provo to face the Cougars.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge,” Krystkowiak said. “Those are two of the best offensive teams around. We’re going to have to play very well in order to have a chance.”
Boise State at Utah
P Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. TV • Pac-12 Networks