SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to retirement ceremonies, the University of Utah’s tribute to former head coach Rick Majerus will certainly be warm and fuzzy — in a literal sense.
At halftime of Saturday’s game against Colorado in the Huntsman Center, the Utes will hang a banner replicating the late coach’s trademark sweater.
Utah athletics director Chris Hill said the sweater just makes so much more sense than a jersey number.
“It was, as they say, a no-brainer and we’re excited to do it,” Hill said.
Majerus, who passed away Dec. 1, coached the Utes from 1989-2004 — posting a 323-95 record and an appearance in the 1998 NCAA championship game.
“It’s an easy decision to honor Rick Majerus,” Hill said. “He’s the greatest basketball coach in the history of the university.” Hill is excited that Majerus’ sisters Jodi and Tracy will be on hand for the halftime ceremony. A short program will include remarks by Hill, Jodi and a former player. Prior to the unveiling of the banner, a video will be shown. Fans attending the game will receive commemorative posters.
“There’s been some closure, I think, with everything, but this gives us an opportunity to do something special,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak, who noted that the Utes had a big game against Boise State (a 76-55 victory) the week of Majerus’ passing.
“We talk about it. It’s been a part of our season,” said Krystkowiak, who believes the new banner will be a nice reminder and provide a little inspiration. “I think it’s going to be a great Saturday.”
After four straight losses at home, the Utes could use a little boost against the defending Pac-12 tournament champions.
“We need Rick in the building. The sweater is going to be there and some of what he has created around here,” Krystkowiak said. “If we could just grab a little bit of it to help us against the Buffaloes, that would be nice.”
The retirement ceremony will be Utah’s first for a coach. The Majerus banner will hang alongside the retired jerseys of Andrew Bogut (4), Billy McGill (12), Arnie Ferrin (22), Danny Vranes (23), Andre Miller (24), Vern Gardner (33) and Keith Van Horn (44). Kim Smith (4) is the only women’s player to have her number hanging from the rafters.
Utes on the air:
Colorado (14-6, 4-4) at Utah (9-11, 1-7)
Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: ESPN 700AM
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DirkFacer
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