I had hoped it wouldn’t come this way.
I had hoped it wouldn’t come this soon.
But we need to retire Rick Majerus’ sweater and we need to do it now. This season.
Now I’m not one of these pollyanna’s about Rick Majerus. We have them among us in the Ute fan base. People who think Rick did no wrong as a coach and that he was unjustly run out of town for a crime he didn’t commit. Let’s not kid ourselves. Rick Majerus was responsible for a great many of the reasons his tenure as Utah Basketball coach had to come to an end.
It is time to let all that go. Coach Majerus is a very sick man. As I reported a couple of days ago, Majerus is in congestive heart failure and has a device in his chest, an LVAD, that is pumping the blood because his heart no longer can. Congestive heart failure is a terminal diagnosis. Rick isn’t getting better. Not this time.
And because of that it’s time to let go all of the things Majerus did wrong and celebrate all the amazing things he did right. Because there were oh so many things he did right.
– Coming off of heart surgery to go 30-4.
– 10 Trips to the NCAA tourney (and 3rd place in the NIT)
– 4 Sweet 16’s
– 2 Elite Eights
– And taking us to within 4 minutes of a national title.
And so many great memories along the way. The 1997 WAC tournament will always be special to me. As will the destruction of Arizona in the 1998 Elite Eight. An Arizona fan behind me was so shocked at what was happening, he just freaked out and his friend had to drag him out of the arena. I could spend 2000 more words on all the things on the court that were oh so special under Rick Majerus.
Which is why I had hoped that this could wait. Wait until Chris Hill could retire so someone with no baggage and history around Rick could be the one to honor him. Wait until some of the pollyanna’s could get older so this wouldn’t be a , Rick should still be our coach-fest. Wait until my own memories of all the reasons Rick shouldn’t coach could fade a little bit more. Wait until Rick retired on his own terms.
But we don’t always get to pick these times. It’s time to let the bad fade from our memory and say thank you for all of the good. It’s time to do it while we can have Rick there. It’s time to do it before it becomes a memorial.
It’s time to retire the sweater.