Former Astros president Bob McClaren remembers Rick Majerus - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Former Astros president Bob McClaren remembers Rick Majerus

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

The former president of business operations for the Houston Astros, Bob McClaren, is saddened by the passing of his friend, former Utah and Saint Louis basketball coach Rick Majerus who died on Saturday.

McClaren, who was the Astros president from 1993-2002, had been friends with Majerus for about 12 years.

"I was really sad," McClaren said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. "Rick struggled with a lot of health problems over the last several years.

"He spent much of his life, the last 20 years, devoted to caring for his mother (Alyce) who passed away (in 2011).
He just loved her, loved his family so much. When she died that really, really affected him in a profound way."

In November Saint Louis announced Majerus would not return to the Billikens because of his heart condition which he was undergoing treatment for in California before passing away at the age of 64.

"Just the last couple of years he struggled with his own health," McClaren said. "You could see him kind of taking a turn for the worse the last 12 months. It's just a sad day.

"The game of basketball will miss him and the people that knew him will miss him as well."

McClaren, who is in private business, also spends part of his time as a basketball agent.

He said he and Majerus never had a formal business relationship, but they did work together on Majerus' career opportunites from time to time.

"As he changed jobs a couple of times I got to consult with him through those situations," McClaren said.

"Working with him as he looked at job opportunities. Some inside the state of Texas and outside the state. He was just a very hot coaching candidate for a lot of big jobs, particularly after Utah did so well and went to the national championship game. He just became a household name at that point.

"Just a lot of athletic directors always had Rick Majerus on their list when it came time to look for a new head coach."

McClaren said he and Majerus were introduced through a mutual friend and a relationship was born.

"We became really good friends over the last dozen years or so," McClaren said. " Rick was a good friend and someone that I really respected in the game of basketball.

"I don't know anybody that had more respect among his peers than Rick Majerus. He understood the game so, so well and he loved to teach. His players loved him. He just had a great way of breaking the game down and making it simple and then also being so effective as a motivator and as a teacher.

"I got to know him when he was coaching at Utah through a mutual friend, Tommy Thomas, a long-time Texas high school basketball coach and a legend in his own right. We became fast friends and got to do a lot of different things together over the years."

The passing of Majerus was confirmed by his longtime friend, John Huntsman of Utah, through a statement released by the Salt Lake Tribune.

Majerus led Utah to the 1998 NCAA championship game and had only one losing season in 25 years as a head coach of four schools.

McClaren said Majerus' profession was the business of basketball, but he said there was much more to the man than his work as a coach.

 "He was just a really, really good person, loved people and incredibly generous with his time and his resources," McClaren said.

"There were countless people he would help inside and outside of basketball throughout his lifetime."

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