ST. LOUIS -- At Rick Majerus' final stop, the lone concession to the coach's health woes were the footstools stationed at each corner of the practice court.
Close by anytime he needed a breather. Close enough, too, to jump up for some hands-on assistance with the proper stance or to lead a quick walkthrough.
The jovial, basketball-obsessed coach who led Utah to the 1998 NCAA final and had only one losing season in 25 years with four schools, died Saturday. He was 64.
Utah industrialist Jon Huntsman, the coach's longtime friend, confirmed in a statement released through The Salt Lake Tribune that Majerus died of heart failure in a Los Angeles hospital. The coach had been hospitalized there for several months.
Players remembered Majerus, who got his start as an assistant under Al McGuire at Marquette, as a coach who was exacting and perhaps a bit unorthodox at times, but always fair. Majerus was known for assembling rosters with an international flair, and his final team at Saint Louis had players from Australia and New Zealand.
"It was a unique experience, I'll tell you that, and I loved every minute of it," said Saint Louis guard Kyle Cassity, who was mostly a backup on last season's 26-win team after starting for Majerus earlier in his college career. "A lot of people questioned the way he did things, but I loved it. He'd be hard as hell on you, but he really cared."
At the postgame news conference following Saint Louis' four-point loss to top seed Michigan State in the NCAA West Regional, Majerus and his players wept.
"Coach has done so much," Brian Conklin said back then. "Being his first recruiting class, he told me that we were going to help him build something special here. He's a great coach. I couldn't imagine playing for a better coach, a better person. He doesn't just teach you about basketball, it's about life."
Saint Louis athletic director Chris May said in a statement that what he would remember most about Majerus "was his enduring passion to see his players excel both on and off the court."
"He truly embraced the term `student-athlete,' and I think that will be his lasting legacy," May added.
The school announced Nov. 19 that Majerus wouldn't return to Saint Louis because of the heart condition. He ended the school's 12-year NCAA tournament drought last season, and bounced back from his only losing season, with a team that won its opening game and took top regional seed Michigan State to the wire. The Billikens were ranked for the first time since 1994-95.
Majerus was undergoing evaluation and treatment in California for the ongoing heart trouble and the school announced he was on leave in late August.
"That's a tough one for me," Boston coach Doc Rivers, a former Marquette star, said after the Celtics' loss in Milwaukee. "He's the one that gave me my nickname. I knew before (the game) that he wasn't going to make it through the night. I don't want to talk much about it."
San Diego State coach Steve Fisher first met Majerus at a camp when Majerus was a graduate assistant at Marquette and Fisher was coaching at the high school level in Chicago.
"Rick would hold court at night with a case of beer in the basement," Fisher said. "Phenomenal coach, a better person, cared about family, cared about people. He will be missed by everyone."
Loyola of Chicago coach Porter Moser, an assistant under Majerus at Saint Louis from 2007-10, tweeted, "RIP to my friend and mentor Coach Majerus. I learned so much about the game and life. We lost One of the best! My heart is heavy tonight."
Missouri coach Frank Haith said it was a "sad day for all of college basketball."
"Coach Majerus was a tremendous coach and one of the all-time great personalities in our profession," Haith said. "Our hearts and prayers go out to Rick's family and friends and all the wonderful student-athletes and staff at Saint Louis University."
Majerus had a history of heart and weight problems dating to 1989 that persisted despite a daily constitutional of a mile swim. He had a stent inserted in August 2011 in Salt Lake City and missed some games in the 2011-12 season after gashing his leg in a collision with players.
He backed out of a commitment to coach Southern California due to heart problems.
Majerus was 95-69 in five seasons at Saint Louis and had a 25-year record of 517-216, with 15 20-win seasons and two 30-win seasons. He had his most success at Utah, going 323-95 from 1989-2004. He was at Marquette from 1983-86, and Ball State from 1987-89.
Ball State was 29-3 in 1988-89 under Majerus, including the school's first NCAA tournament victory. At Utah, Majerus produced 10 conference championships in 13 seasons.
"Rick left a lasting legacy at the University of Utah, not only for his incredible success and the national prominence he brought to our basketball program, but also for the tremendous impact he made on the young men who were fortunate enough to play on his teams," Utah athletic director Dr. Chris Hill said in a statement.
"His standard of excellence extended beyond the basketball court and into the academic and personal success of his players. He will be deeply missed and we grieve for his family and all of his friends."
Majerus took 12 teams to the NCAA tournament, winning at least one game in all but one of those appearances, with the 1998 Utah team losing to Kentucky in the NCAA championship game. He led four teams to the NIT and took Saint Louis teams to the CBI tournament final in 2009-10.
"It's a sad day for college basketball," UNLV coach Dave Rice said. "Certainly one of the great college basketball coaches. He took talent where they were most effective. When you went up against Coach Majerus and you won you knew you did something special."
Gonzaga assistant coach Donny Daniels spent a decade as an assistant under Majerus.
"He was a caring man, a gracious man, giving of himself," Daniels said. "He did so many nice things for me. He taught me how to coach and how to be efficient."
Arizona coach Sean Miller coached against Majerus when he was at Xavier and Majerus was at Saint Louis.
"We've certainly lost a member of the coaching fraternity that all of us respect," Miller said. "It became very apparent when you prepared for his team and watched him coach against your team that there are very few coaches that are more prepared, more detail-oriented that knew the game comprehensively than Rick Majerus. You could also sense that basketball, the game, the love of the game was really part of his life."
Majerus as a mentor to Ben Howland during the UCLA coach's days at UC Santa Barbara and Northern Arizona.
"He was a great coach and a really, really good person" Howland said. "It's a sad day for basketball because he was a brilliant man."
Majerus was openly critical of Saint Louis' affiliation in the Atlantic 10, complaining that the travel demands made it too hard to succeed academically. Yet he coached two academic All-Americans at Saint Louis, Conklin and Kevin Lisch.
Majerus was born in Milwaukee and earned a spot on the freshman team at Marquette, his hometown college. He didn't make the varsity under McGuire, who instead hired him as an assistant coach in 1971.
Majerus' ties to Wisconsin included a one-year stint as assistant coach with the NBA's Bucks in 1987-88.
"He's done so much for basketball at Marquette and all through the state of Wisconsin," Bucks assistant coach Jim Boylan said. "For me personally, he's always been there. He's one of those guys who, if you don't see Rick for a while and when something was going wrong and you needed help, boom, he'd be there. He'd basically give you the shirt off his back, if that's what you needed."
Three of Majerus' players at Utah were first-round NBA draft picks. Keith Van Horn was No. 2 overall in 1997, Michael Doleac 12th in 1998 and Andre Miller eighth in 1999.
Saint Louis is 3-3 this season under interim coach Jim Crews, who joined the staff last season. The Billikens were picked to finish second in the Atlantic 10 but have struggled without point guard Kwamain Mitchell, sidelined probably until January with a broken foot.
"Nobody loved basketball and teaching kids more that Rick," Crews said. "His passion for the game and the coaching profession was unparalleled."
Majerus' father, Raymond, died of a heart attack at 63 in 1987. He was a former secretary-treasurer of the United Auto Workers. Majerus was devoted to his mother, Alyce, before her death in August 2011.
He was briefly married from 1987-89. He is survived by sisters Jodi and Tracy.
The portly coach was unabashed in his love of food, always quick with a restaurant recommendation for whatever town his teams were playing in.
His autobiography, "My Life On a Napkin," came out in 2000.
AP Sports Writer Beth Harris in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Follow R.B. Fallstrom on Twitter at (at)rbfallstromAP
Also on HuffPost:
Gary Carter - 2/16/12
In tis Oct. 14, 1986, file photo, New York Mets' Gary Carter celebrates his 12th inning game-winning hit against the Houston Astros in Game 5 of baseball's National League Championship Series in New York.
Gene Bartow - 1/3/12
In this June 16, 2003 file photo, Gene Bartow, former basketball coach at Memphis State, UCLA and UBA, answers a question at a news conference in San Diego, where he was named the interim athletic director of San Diego State. Bartow, who succeeded John Wooden at UCLA and later began UAB's program, has died, UAB officials said. He was 81.
Ron Caron - 1/9/12
This Dec. 19, 1996 file photo shows St. Louis Blues general manager Ron Caron speaks during a news conference in St. Louis. Caron, a longtime assistant general manager with the Montreal Canadiens who went on to become GM of the Blues, has died. He was 82.
Jim Stanley - 1/12/12
In this photo provided by Oklahoma State University, former Oklahoma State head football coach Jim Stanley is shown in Stillwater, Okla. Stanley died Thursday morning, Jan. 12, 2012, in Arizona after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 77.
Sarah Burke - 1/19/12
Sarah Burke, of Canada, holds her gold medal after winning the Women's Superpipe event at Winter X Games 13 at Buttermilk Ski Area, near Aspen, Colo. Burke died Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, nine days after crashing at the bottom of the superpipe during a training run in Utah. She was 29.
Joe Paterno - 1/22/12
Penn State coach Joe Paterno stands on the field before his team's NCAA college football game against Northwestern, in Evanston, Ill.
Don Fullmer - 1/28/12
In this Sept. 12, 1964, file photo, former middleweight champion Dick Tiger, left, shakes up Don Fullmer with a hard left to the chin in a boxing bout in Cleveland. Fullmer, a former middleweight boxer who fought nine world champions and came within a fight of a world title himself, has died in Utah at the age of 72. His sons told the Deseret News that he died after suffering from lymphocytic leukemia for 15 years.
Alex Webster - 3/3/12
In this Sept. 3, 1963, file photo, New York Giants running back Alex Webster poses at the team's NFL training camp in Fairfield, Conn. The Giants say Webster, who also coached the team for four years, has died at age 80, Saturday, March 3, 2012, at a hospital in Florida.
Mel Parnell - 3/20/12
In this June 9, 1949 file photo, Boston Red Sox pitcher Mel Parnell warms up before a game in St. Louis. Parnell, the left-handed pitcher who faced the infamous Green Monster at Fenway Park and some of the best hitters of the 1940s and early 1950s, has died at age 89.
Mark Lenzi - 4/9/12
This July 29, 1996 file photo of Mark Lenzi, of Bloomington, Indiana, winner of the bronze medal smiling after medal ceremony for the Olympic men's 3-meter springboard competition at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. A former Olympic diving champion, Lenzi has died. He was 43, and had been hospitalized for two weeks after suffering fainting spells.
William "Moose" Skowron - 4/27/12
In this March, 1956, file photo, New York Yankees infielder William "Moose" Skowron is shown during spring training baseball in St. Petersburg, Fla. Skowron, a four-time All-Star first baseman who helped the Yankees win four World Series titles in the 1950s and 1960s, died Friday, April 27, 2012, at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Ill. He was 81.
Alexander Dale Oen - 5/1/12
Norway's Alexander Dale Oen shows the gold medal he won in the men's 100m Breaststroke event at the FINA Swimming World Championships in Shanghai, China. The Norwegian Swimming Federation said Tuesday May 1, 2012, world champion Alexander Dale Oen has died after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Junior Seau - 5/2/12
This July 28, 2007 file photo shows New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau smiling during NFL football training camp in Foxborough, Mass. Seau shot and killed himself at his home in May, authorities said.
Stacy Robinson - 5/8/12
In this Jan. 25, 1987 photo, New York Giants wide receiver Stacy Robinson (81) catches a pass and races for a 36-yard gain during the fourth quarter of the Giants 39-20 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI. Robinson, a wide receiver who won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants before working with the players' union, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 50.
Kevin Hickey - 5/16/12
Hickey, who pitched in six major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox and the Baltimore Orioles, has died. He was 56. The team said Hickey died Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Hickey had been the White Sox's pre-game instructor since 2004.
Bob Boozer - 5/19/12
In this 1968 photo provided by the Chicago Bulls, Bulls' Bob Boozer poses in uniform. Former NBA star and 1960 Olympic gold medalist Boozer has died. He was 75.
Bill Stewart - 5/21/12
West Virginia coach Bill Stewart smiles during an NCAA college football game against Villanova in Morgantown, W.Va. Stewart, the former West Virginia coach, died Monday, May 21, 2012, of what athletic department officials said was an apparent heart attack.
Jack Twyman - 5/30/12
This Oct. 29, 1960 file photo shows Cincinnati Royals basketball player Jack Twyman posing for photographers in St Louis. Basketball Hall of Famer Jack Twyman has died at 78. Twyman was one of the NBA's top scorers in the 1950s who became the guardian to a paralyzed teammate. Jay Twyman, of Rye, N.Y., said that his father died at a Cincinnati hospice of complications from an aggressive form of blood cancer.
Orlando Woolridge - 5/31/12
This May 1, 1989 file photo shows Los Angeles Lakers' Orlando Woolridge dunking over Portland's Kevin Duckworth during an NBA game in Inglewood, Calif. Former NBA standout Orlando Woolridge has died at his parents' home in Mansfield, La. He was 52. He had been under hospice care for a chronic heart condition.
LeRoy Ellis - 6/2/12
In this Feb. 13, 1976, file photo, Houston Rockets' Kevin Kunnert (20) knocks the ball away from Philadelphia 76ers' LeRoy Ellis (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Philadelphia. St. John's announced that Ellis, who played 14 years in the NBA after a standout career at St. John's, had died of prostate cancer in Portland, Ore. He was 72.
Pedro Borbon - 6/4/12
This 1971 file photo shows Cincinnati Reds pitcher Pedro Borbon, who pitched 10 years for the Reds and helped the Big Red Machine win back-to-back World Series titles. Borbon has died of cancer. He was 65.
Teofilo Stevenson - 6/11/12
Cuban champion Teofilo Stevenson Soviet Pyotr Zaev and German Republic Democratic Jurgen Fanghanel wave on the podium of the Olympic heavyweight 81+ boxing event that won Teofilo Stevenson. Stevenson --who won 301 of the 321 fights he took part-- died of a heart attack at the age of 60 in Havana.
Garrett Reid - 8/5/12
Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, right, stands on the field as sign shows a photo of his son Garrett Reid before an NFL preseason football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in Philadelphia.
Michael Dokes - 8/11/12
This Dec. 11, 1982 file photo shows new World Boxing Association heavyweight boxing champion Michael Dokes gesturing after defeating Mike Weaver, with a first round TKO, in Las Vegas. The Rhoden Memorial Home in Akron, Ohio said Dokes died Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. The Akron Beacon Journal reported that the boxer died in an Akron hospice from liver cancer.
Johnny Pesky - 8/13/12
Boston Red Sox great Johnny Pesky, center, is flanked by team president Larry Lucchino, left, and owner John Henry as they look past Pesky's Pole where Pesky's No. 6 adorns the upper deck. Pesky, who spent most of his 60-plus years in pro baseball with the Red Sox and was beloved by the team's fans, has died on Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in Danvers, Mass. He was 92.
Simon Gourdine - 8/16/12
This July 22, 1995 file photo shows Buck Williams, left, president of the NBA Players Association, and Simon P. Gourdine, executive director of the players' association, during a news conference in New York. Gourdine, who became deputy commissioner of the NBA in 1974 and went on to work for and lead the players' association in the 1990s, has died. He was 72.
Steve Van Buren - 8/23/12
In this 1947 file photo, Steve Van Buren of the Philadelphia Eagles poses. Van Buren, the Hall of Fame running back who led the Philadelphia Eagles to NFL titles in 1948 and 1949, has died. He was 91. The Eagles said Thursday night, Aug. 23, 2012, that Van Buren died in Lancaster, Pa., of pneumonia.
Art Heyman - 8/27/12
In this 1960 photo, Duke basketball player Art Heyman plays in the Dixie Classic. Duke announces Heyman, the captain of the Blue Devils' first Final Four team, has died. The school said Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012, family members say Heyman died Monday night in Florida. The cause of death was not available. He was 71.
Art Modell - 9/6/12
Owner and CEO of the Baltimore Ravens Art Modell talks with reporters at the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. The Baltimore Ravens said Modell died early Thursday Sept. 6, 2012 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he had been admitted Wednesday. A cause of death was not given.
Steve Sabol - 9/18/12
This Sept. 26, 2000 file photo shows NFL Films President Steve Sabol posed at his desk with an old 16mm movie camera at their headquarters in Mount Laurel, N.J. Sabol has died from brain cancer. He was 69. The NFL said Sabol died Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, 18 months after he was diagnosed with a tumor on the left side of his brain.
Corrie Sanders - 9/23/12
South African Corrie Sanders throws a left hook at Ukrainian Vitali Klitschko on April 24, 2004 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Sanders died after being shot at a restaurant. He was 46.
Alex Karras - 10/10/12
Detroit Lions football player Alex Karras, who gained fame in the NFL as a fearsome defensive lineman and later as an actor, has died. He was 77. Craig Mitnick, Karras' attorney, said Karras died at home in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, surrounded by family. (AP Photo/File)
Darrell Royal - 11/7/12
In this Dec. 5, 1970, file phot, Texas coach Darrell Royal is carried from the field on the shoulders of his Longhorns following Texas' 42-7 triumph over Arkansas in Austin, Texas. Royal, who won two national championships and turned the Longhorns program into a national power, died Nov. 7, 2012, at age 88 of complications from cardiovascular disease. Royal also had suffered from Alzheimer's disease. (AP Photo/File)
Hector 'Macho' Camacho - 11/24/12
Hector "Macho" Camacho, a boxer known for skill and flamboyance in the ring, as well as for a messy personal life and run-ins with the police, has died, after being taken off life support on November 24, 2012. He was 50. (AP Photo/Elias, File)