Best Coach

Jim Crews

One has to wonder if Rick Majerus saw this whole story play out long before it ever happened. Majerus, who had a history of serious health issues, called his buddy Jim Crews and talked him out of what was probably a perfectly relaxing retirement to serve as an assistant coach. Fast-forward one year, and all of a sudden Crews finds himself heaved into the interim head-coach position owing to Majerus' failing health. And then it really hits: On December 1, 2012, Majerus passes away due to heart failure, and Crews is left with the loss of a great friend and a team of crushed young men. Crews perseveres through the loss (they play, and win, the night after Majerus passes) and the remainder of the season (with a school record of 28 wins). He not only wins the A-10 Conference tournament, but he also steers the Billikens to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. To endure that much pain and grief and churn out the best season of both your and your school's careers is truly unprecedented. And you have to tip your cap to Majerus — he was always good at spotting not just talent, but also headstrong guys.

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