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Majerus will have sweater hung from Utah’s rafters

Majerus in 1997 after winning the WAC title with Utah. The school will put a large version of that sweater in its rafters. (AP)

You wondered what Utah might do to honor its greatest coach. I can’t think of something cooler than this.

Not even three days after Rick Majerus’ death, the school where he won more games than at his other three stops combined announced a few commemorations for the man who brought 323 victories to Salt Lake City.

Of course, there will be a moment of silence. That’s coming Wednesday, when the 5-2 Utes host upstart 6-1 Boise State. Players will also don black patches on their uniforms with Majerus’ initials on them. It is unclear if the patches will be worn for one game or the remainder of the season.

But the biggest and coolest tribute will come in the form of an enormous off-white sweater, a replica, that’s going into the rafters. (Seriously, can your offensive, predictable jokes now.)

I can’t think of many, if any, other instances of a tribute like this. You see the embiggened jerseys/jersey numbers in most arenas, but a giant sweater? It’s great — and appropriate. You can see above the style of sweater that Majerus wore while coaching at Utah. That will soon be part of the ambiance of the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

The replica sweater will be created to fit in with the select names already hanging from the rafters.

“To retire his jersey and put a No. 1 up there, it just doesn’t make any sense,” [Utah athletic director Chris] Hill said Monday. “We want people to know it’s Rick. You’ll know it’s a sweater, but at the same time it won’t diminish anybody else who is out there.”

Majerus had been invited back previously to be inducted into Utah’s Hall of Fame but the timing wasn’t right last year as he was coaching at Saint Louis and his health had taken a turn for the worse. Hill said the induction is still planned for a man who led the Utes to the 1998 NCAA final and had only one losing season in 25 years with four schools.

“‘Essentially he was a genius and a savant in basketball,” Hill said. “He died way too soon at 64 and many of us maybe knew that day was coming.”

Hill added that the Majerus commendations most likely won’t end there. More could/should be coming in the future, after the team’s facilities get an upgrade. Whether that’s a court naming or some sort of glass case of memorial, we don’t know yet.

(Let me take a second to remind you right here that Monday’s podcast goes deep into Majerus as a man and is one of the best we’ve put out there.)

And if that’s not enough, Hill and Saint Louis’ AD, Chris May, are two men already working hard and pushing fast for Majerus to earn the honor of getting into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. That seems like an inevitability, considering Majerus’ reputation as a coach, a basketball brain, is up there with the best of them.

Majerus’ funeral is scheduled for Saturday in his hometown of Milwaukee.

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