Rick Majerus: Small Act Went a Long Way for SLU Student
For him, it was never about the name. It wasn't about glory or the wins. He loved the challenge. He thrived from it. If it was easy, it wasn't a worthwhile endeavor. His life was one worth living because he took the road less traveled and turned the seemingly impossible into the possible.
I decided to stick around the student center and see what I could see. I wasn't the only student who had caught word of what was going on. A few of us blended into the back of the press conference and listened. After hearing the typical skew of questions, and what I would come to learn was Coach's typical drawn out answers, I got my first taste of the side of him I grew to love. He was humble.
He spoke of how he really wanted to get to know the students and the community here. He said he knew students were here and he wanted to stick around and talk to them afterwards. He said he hoped to hold more events where he could get to know the entire university.
Gold with SLU forward, Rob Loe.
After the conference, as people trickled out, Majerus, true to his word, made his way towards the back of the ballroom where some other students and I had been sitting.
I don't remember exactly what we said to each other that day. I remember it lasted about 90 seconds -- far longer than most big-time college basketball coaches would ever spend talking to some random sophomore who had sneaked into a press conference. I remember getting the feeling he actually wanted to know me. There were no cameras rolling, this wasn't just a good snap shop for the PR department.
I'm not sure what it was, but ever since that moment I felt like somehow, even after just a minute, he knew me. Maybe he saw a bit of himself in me that day -- a big Midwestern kid at a Catholic college with a passion for sports. He had spent his whole career sizing up and getting to know young men. I wouldn't be surprised if 90 seconds was all it took for him.
A week or so later I ran into Majerus again.