St. Louis, Mo. (KSDK) -- A standing ovation for former coach Rick Majerus followed the moment of silence in his memory before Sunday's SLU basketball game.

His death took the campus by surprise.

"We heard he was sick recently, that came out," says SLU alumnus Charlie Andrus. "But I definitely didn't think it was going to be this all of a sudden he'd be gone."

"I really couldn't believe it. I actually heard it from a couple of buddies who said he'd passed away. I guess I didn't know the extent of how bad his health issue truly was," junior Patrick McGlynn says.

Students blacked out the student section just down the court from the bench Majerus once paced.

Rick Majerus took the coaching job at SLU in 2007 and quickly turned the program around, getting them back to the NCAA tournament and positioning the team for what many believed would be its best season in years. Patrick McGlynn and his friend, sophomore Dex West say he put the school back on the map.

"It's a huge loss for the SLU community," says McGlynn. "He's the one that kind of put us on the national chart with basketball and boosted that school awareness nationally."

"It's sad. It's horrible. He was an icon for SLU basketball," adds West.

The coach had well documented health problems. After taking a leave of absence, he left the program in August to deal with what was called a severe heart ailment. Dex West believes Majerus' death will push the team he put together.

"I feel like it's going to motivate our team for this year. We've kind of had a couple of minor slip-ups, but I feel like we're going to come together now with this happening as a team and get more motivated by his death."

And he says the students will be right there with them.

Read or Share this story: