Rick Majerus won't return as the Saint Louis Billikens' head coach, but he's left them much better off than they were when he arrived.
When news broke Friday that Rick Majerus, out this year because of health issues, wouldn't be returning at the SLU Billikens' head coach, it might have been unsurprising. According to Andy Katz, it's been unofficially official ever since news broke that he'd be gone temporarily:
SLU officially announces what those close to him have known since August that Rick Majerus will not return to SLU due to a heart condition.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) November 16, 2012
However unsurprising, though, it was still unfortunate. After years in stasis, in 2012 Majerus led SLU to an unexpected NCAA Tournament berth and an even less expected win over Memphis in the newly rechristened second round, formerly known as the Round of 64 Or So.
Now we know that Majerus won't be around to lead the Billikens through the second phase of their rebuilding. But after their first tournament appearance in a decade it was clear that Majerus had done what SLU hoped he would when they hired him back in 2007, following another round of health problems: He's given them credibility. Whoever replaces him on a full-time basis will have the gains Majerus made to build on.
Which is probably why SLU fans are sad about this, even when they're not surprised. The Post-Dispatch has some information about how to wish Majerus well, as well as a prepared statement from Jon Huntsman, Sr.(!)