Rick Majerus takes leave of absence from Saint Louis

Dwayne Smith, men's basketball
Dwayne Smith heads to the net against Saint Louis two years ago. Hatchet File Photo

Rick Majerus will not coach A-10 rival Saint Louis’ men’s basketball team in the upcoming season, taking a leave of absence for health reasons after a recent hospitalization for an ongoing heart condition.

Assistant coach Jim Crews will take over as interim head coach for the 2012-13 season. A University release said that a decision has not been made about the 2013-14 season, which points to a possible return for the longtime Bilikens head coach.

“The players are being informed of coach Majerus’ condition and the subsequent announcement of Jim Crews’ appointment,” Saint Louis athletic director Chris May said in a statement. “It is an emotional time, and while our thoughts and prayers are with Rick, our focus is on our student-athletes and continuing to give them the best experience possible.”

ESPN reported that Majerus has a history of heart surgeries, dating to 1989, and is currently taking blood thinner medication. The Saint Louis head coach had a stent inserted last August.

Under Majerus’ direction, the Bilikens went 24-8 last season, and traveled to the third round of the NCAA tournament, the program’s first appearance since 2000.

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