Dan Majerle, a former NBA All-Star and Olympian, enters his sixth season at the helm of GCU men's basketball in 2018-19 after taking over the program on March 18, 2013, as the 13th head coach in Lopes history.
It has been quite an impressive run in the Valley for the former Phoenix Suns star, broadcaster and assistant coach. In five years at GCU, Majerle has amassed 103 wins and four postseason berths on the sideline. His teams have posted the 22nd-best winning percentage (.717) in Division I over the past three seasons. In 2017-18, the Lopes came within one win of a NCAA tournament berth in their first season of full Division I postseason eligibility.
Majerle has made his mark with teams that have won at least 22 games in each of the past three seasons and five top-three finishes in the WAC. Majerle also has attracted many high-profile opponents during his tenure, including Kentucky, Duke, Arizona, Nevada and a home-and-home series with Louisville.
Behind Majerle’s presence and a rising team, GCU Arena has been among the fullest venues in college basketball in recent years. In 2017-18, GCU ranked 14th in Division I for attendance capacity percentage (99.6) and led the WAC with 6.973 fans per game. The average attendance has increased every season as a Division I program, including a spike of 3,343 fans for Majerle's first season -- a 325 percent bump from the previous season. In 2016-17, GCU ranked in the top 10 for attendance among schools with less than a 10,000-seat capacity.
Majerle completed his first year at GCU in 2013-14 by being named a finalist for the Joe B. Hall Award, which is given to the most outstanding first-year Division I head coach. He had guided the team to a 15-15 record in its first year of reclassification to Division I. The Lopes, tabbed to finish eighth in the WAC, used a 10-6 conference mark to claim third place. GCU also received a bid to its first Division I postseason tourney, the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
Before starting his tenure at GCU, Majerle spent five seasons (2008-13) as an assistant coach and four years as a broadcast analyst (2002-06) with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. "Thunder Dan" is one of the most popular figures in Suns history, having been inducted into the Suns Ring of Honor in 2003 for his eight playing seasons (1988-95, 2001-02) with Phoenix.
Majerle played 14 seasons in the NBA and averaged 11.4 points over 955 career games. He made three All-Star appearances and was named to the 1990-91 and 1992-93 All-Defensive second team. He led the league in 3-pointers made (192) in 1993-94.
Majerle, the 14th overall selection in the 1988 NBA Draft by the Suns, was runner-up by one vote to the Indiana Pacers’ Detlef Schrempf for the NBA Sixth Man Award in 1990-91, when he averaged 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds. He averaged a career-best 17.3 points during the 1991-92 season, his first All-Star season.
Majerle made his second consecutive trip to the All-Star Game in 1992-93, also a NBA Finals season for Phoenix, and finished tied for the league lead in 3-pointers with 167. He set a Suns record with eight 3-pointers made on Jan. 30, 1993, and did it again in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against Seattle.
Following the 1993-94 season, Majerle was named to Dream Team II, the U.S. squad that won gold at the 1994 World Championship in Ontario, Canada. This was Majerle’s second time representing his country. Before his NBA rookie season, he was part of the U.S. team that won the bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, where he played for coaching great John Thompson. That same year, he was named the Olympic Athlete of the Year.
He was chosen as a starter for his third All-Star Game in 1994-95 after averaging 17.4 points in the first half of the season, becoming the first reserve to be voted as an All-Star starter since fan balloting began in 1975.
Majerle, originally from Traverse City, Mich., played collegiately at Central Michigan, where he averaged more than 20 points in three of his four seasons and was an All-Mid-American Conference selection each year. During his senior season, he averaged 23.7 points and 10.8 rebounds while hitting 52.2 percent from the field. He completed his career at CMU ranked second for career points, steals and field goal percentage.
Since 2003, the Suns have handed out the Dan Majerle Hustle Award to the player who most personifies the hustle and determination displayed by Majerle in his playing career.