A Saturday afternoon matchup against Illinois-Springfield isn't usually the type of event that would draw attention to the St. Louis Billikens basketball program, but the Billikens' weekend win carried some added significance this time around. It was the 500th victory of coach Rick Majerus' illustrious coaching career.
Kwamain Mitchell scored 22 points as the Billikens improved to 9-1, but it Majerus was the story. With fans holding up blue "500" signs throughout the contest, the coach addressed the crowd at Chaifetz Arena after the win.
"Five hundred (500) is just a number," Majerus said. "The most significant numbers are the 94 percent of my players who have graduated, the 200-plus players on the honor roll, the nine Academic All-Americans and the two Rhodes Scholar candidates that I have been honored to coach. I will always be most proud of my players’ accomplishments in the classroom. That goes from my players who gave A efforts for their C+ averages, to players like Drew Hansen, an Academic All-American who earned a law degree from Stanford University."
Majerus earned 323 of those victories at Utah, where he coached coach future NBA draft picks Keith Van Horn and Andrew Miller and won WAC Coach of the Year five times. Here's how the rest of Majerus' wins break down:
78 at Saint Louis.
56 at Marquette.
43 at Ball State.
Majerus has won 70.5 percent of the games in his head coaching career, whcih ranks him in the top 20 among active head coaches with at least five years experience.
St. Louis hosts Alabama St. on Saturday, December 17.