Majerus Made Major Impact on Lives of Players - The Missourian: Sports

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Majerus Made Major Impact on Lives of Players

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Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 4:15 pm

News of the death of Rick Majerus stunned the basketball world.

And that news particularly hit hard here, where cousins Luke Meyer and Paul Eckerle, both Borgia graduates, played under Majerus at St. Louis University.

Majerus, 64, died Saturday of heart failure in Los Angeles. He was the Billikens’ head coach from 2007-12. The school only recently announced that he wouldn’t be back after taking a leave of absence.

“His love in life was basketball, but his mission was the livelihood and success of his players,” Eckerle said. “His unmatched mastery of the game and his contributions to the programs at SLU and Utah are what will make him a hall of famer, but his impact on the future of his players and genuine concern for their well-being are what make him a hero.”

Meyer said that Majerus always kept the welfare of his players as the top priority, making sure that they didn’t forget the “student” part of “student-athlete.”

“He loved basketball, but always put education first,” Meyer said. “He did everything in his power to ensure that every one of his players graduated. I will take with me the many memorable stories from practice and road trips (there were plenty). No question he was a good coach, but more importantly he was a good person who would go out of his way to help you out. Coach Majerus was an unforgettable coach and will be missed.”

Meyer and Eckerle played together during the 2007-08 season, Majerus’ first with the school.

Meyer was a senior when Majerus was hired prior to the 2007-08 season. That season, he averaged 31.3 minutes with 8.4 points, and 5.4 rebounds per game.

Following his senior season, Luke went on to play professionally in Australia for three seasons.

“I was sad to hear about the passing of Coach Majerus,” Luke said. “He was a great coach and truly wanted the best for each of his players. I only played one year for him, but in that short time he taught me a lot about the game of basketball.”

Eckerle was a freshman recruit on that 2007-08 team and averaged 18.1 minutes, 3.8 points and 1.3 assists per game that season.

Paul played through the 2010-11 season, missing 2009-10 due to knee surgery. With a year of eligibility left, he decided to give up basketball for medical school and he’s still at Saint Louis University in that capacity.

“For four years, he was the persistent and unwavering voice in my head,” Eckerle said. “On the court, his instructions and demands were constantly resonating in my mind as if they had somehow become an innate part of my own thought process. Any of his players can affirm this, as they find themselves unconsciously repeating his words and quoting his many idioms and sayings. I find myself using his words in everyday life even outside of the discussion of basketball or sport. This reflects the influence coach had on his players both on the court and in life.”

Meyer said Majerus left a lasting impression on each of the players he coached.

“We had basketball binders that we would take to each practice and film session and it was basically another class because he would constantly be teaching you, breaking down the game in a way that made sense. His attention to detail and his preparation were incredible. After playing for him, you watch the game a little differently.”

Eckerle was around the program for the entire Majerus run with the Billikens and the loss of a mentor has hit hard.

“Our success in basketball was always second to our growth as young men of perseverance and integrity,” Eckerle said. “His emphasis on doing things ‘the right way’ was particularly striking and an explicit example of how his basketball instruction was made easily applicable to the way we conduct ourselves in society. It was often difficult, however, to realize the impact this had as it was happening. To most his methods and words taken out of context may seem harsh and uncompromising; nonetheless, it was the very nature of his methods that made them so effective. It is largely in hindsight that I have gained this perspective, and only now can I truly appreciate all the things Coach Majerus did for me. So one may see how I might characterize these past days as paradoxical. Whenever I find myself uttering his words as if they were my own, I’m reminded of the sorrow of his absence; yet, I’m deeply warmed by the inherent wisdom those words contain.”

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Area Scoreboard

62nd Annual Borgia Pepsi Thanksgiving Tournament

Blue Division

Pool 1

McCluer North

Normandy

Carnahan

Pool 2

Cardinal Ritter

Pacific

Rockwood Summit

Gold Division

Pool 1

CBC

Soldan

Washington

Pool 2

Borgia

North Tech

Union

Monday, Nov. 24

CBC 77, Washington 52

Tuesday, Nov. 25

Cardinal Ritter vs. Rockwood Summit, PPD

Washington 63, Soldan 62

Borgia 83, Union 50

Wednesday, Nov. 26

Carnahan 71, Normandy 46

Pacific 64, Rockwood Summit 22

North Tech 67, Union 37

Thursday, Nov. 27

McCluer North 95 Carnahan 68

CBC 82, Soldan 55

Borgia 50, North Tech 45

Friday, Nov. 28

McCluer North 93, Normandy 39

Pacific 70, Cardinal Ritter 57

Saturday, Nov. 29

Blue Consolation — Rockwood Summit 47, Normandy 38

Gold Consolation — Soldan 78, Union 59

Gold Third Place — North Tech 63, Washington 57

Blue Third Place — Cardinal Ritter 71, Carnahan 46

Blue Championship — McCluer North 64, Pacific 58 (OT)

Gold Championship — CBC 67, Borgia 66

Boys Basketball

Monday, Dec. 8

Lutheran S 64, St. Clair 48

Borgia 61, Carnahan 51

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Lafayette 44, Washington 35

Friday, Dec. 12

Potosi 72, St. Clair 45

*Washington 69, Ft. Zumwalt North 65

Montgomery Co 62, New Haven 61

*St. Mary’s at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Bourbon 75, Union 74

Glendale 63, Pacific 46

Saturday, Dec. 13

New Haven 46, Barat 40

Nixa 56, Pacific 46

Tuesday, Dec. 16

*Pacific 70, New Haven 35

*Hermann 67, St. Clair 49

*Ft. Zumwalt South 61, Washington 50

*Union 81, St. James 74

Friday, Dec. 19

*Owensville at St. Clair    4 p.m.

Washington vs. Parkway Central, GAC/Suburban Shootout, St. Charles Family Arena, 5:30 p.m.

*St. James at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Pacific 76, Union 57

Saturday, Dec. 20

Sullivan Shootout

Owensville vs. Rockwood Summit, 11:30 a.m.

Lindbergh 67, St. Clair 46

Jefferson City vs. Jackson, 2:30 p.m.

Washington 56, Lutheran South 54

Poplar Bluff 59, Borgia 49

Sullivan vs. Affton, 7 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Saturday, Dec. 6

Cor Jesu 63, Borgia 60

New Haven 46, Moberly 39

Monday, Dec. 8

Pacific 73, Rolla 40

St. Clair 68, Dixon 37

Washington 54, New Haven 15

Tuesday, Dec. 9

*Borgia 59, Rosati-Kain 38

Union 53, Northwest 44

Thursday, Dec. 11

*Borgia 60, Notre Dame 53

Union 81, Bourbon 53

Friday, Dec. 12

New Haven 45, Principia 30

*Washington 59, Ft. Zumwalt North 32

Saturday, Dec. 13

West Plains 76, Pacific 37

Monday, Dec. 15

*Pacific 46, New Haven 28

*St. Clair 59, Hermann 50

*St. James 64, Union 37

Sullivan Tournament

Cuba 48, Principia 27

Borgia 68, Patriettes 29

Sullivan 56, Pattonville 43

Owensville 78, Farmington 54

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Sullivan Tournament

Farmington 61, Pattonville 39

Sullivan 68, Owensville 64

Principia 55, St. Louis Patriettes 42

Borgia 56, Cuba 38

Thursday, Dec. 18

*St. James 72, New Haven 21

*Union 49, Pacific 48

Friday, Dec. 19

Francis Howell 55, Washington 48

Sullivan Tournament

Seventh Place — Pattonville vs. St. Louis Patriettes, 4 p.m.

Consolation — Farmington vs. Principia, 5:30 p.m.

Third Place — Owensville vs. Cuba, 7 p.m.

Championship — Borgia 62, Sullivan 35

Saturday, Dec. 20

Union at Waynesville    5 p.m.

Wrestling

Monday, Dec. 8

Maplewood 48, Borgia 30

Brentwood 47, Borgia 36

Winfield 48, St. Clair 36

St. Clair 42, St. James 40

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Pacific 55, North County 10

Jackson 63, Washington 12

Farmington 63, Washington 6

Wednesday, Dec. 10

Borgia 36, Lutheran St. Charles 34

Winfield 54, Borgia 30

Thursday, Dec. 11

Union 72, Ft. Zumwalt East 9

Union 52, Principia 30

Union 54, Winfield 27

Saturday, Dec. 13

Union Tournament    9 a.m.

Borgia at McCluer S-Berkeley Tny    9 a.m.

Pacific at Farmington Tny    9 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 16

Owensville 61, St. Clair 16

Union 48, Owensville 27

Union 65, St. Clair 18

Friday, Dec. 19

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Saturday, Dec. 20

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Girls Swimming

Monday, Dec. 8

Washington at Eureka    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Washington at Nerinx Hall    4 p.m.

LSC/OFC 134, Borgia 101, St. Dominic 83

Monday, Dec. 15

Borgia at Notre Dame (Forest Park)    4 p.m.

Kennedy 88, Washington 84

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Lindbergh 128, Washington 48

*Conference Games

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