For the past five years, Rick Majerus has spearheaded Saint Louis' transformation from Atlantic 10 also-ran to contender.
Now that he finally has a team capable of challenging for the league title, however, he will be unable to coach it.
Saint Louis announced Friday that Majerus is taking a leave of absence for at least the upcoming season as a result of health concerns. The 64-year-old former Utah and Ball State coach is undergoing evaluation and treatment for an ongoing heart condition at a California hospital.
Assistant coach Jim Crews, a former longtime head coach at Army and Evansville, will take over as interim coach. A decision has not been made for the 2013-14 season, meaning Majerus could still return if his health permits him.
"I appreciate what Rick has done to return SLU men's basketball to national prominence," said Rev. Lawrence Biondi, the school president. "I know that he would like to be here with his players and coaches this season, and all of us at SLU will keep Rick in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."
The absence of Majerus comes amid preparations for a season that figures to be special for the Billikens. Every key player besides forward Brian Conklin returns from last year's 24-win team, raising hopes that Saint Louis can outduel the likes of VCU, Butler and Temple for the Atlantic 10 title.Read More »from Rick Majerus takes leave of absence from Saint Louis for at least a year