Former NBA All-Star, Olympian and World Team member Dan Majerle took over the Grand Canyon men’s basketball program on March 18, 2013 when he was named the 13th head coach in school history.
It’s been quite an impressive run in the Valley for the former Phoenix Suns star. In two short years, he has amassed 32 wins and two postseason berths on the sideline.
Majerle quickly made his mark, guiding the Lopes to a second-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference in 2014-15. For the second year in a row under Majerle, the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament picked the Lopes to play in the postseason as GCU finished with an overall mark of 17-15, including 8-6 in the league. Among its 13 wins at home was a keystone victory against New Mexico, 68-65, on Dec. 23, 2015.
Behind Majerle’s presence and a rising team, GCU averaged 5,413 fans over 21 home games in 2014-15. It was an increase in average attendance from the previous season of 1,030 fans per game, the 24th-highest increase in the NCAA last year.
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. Being nominated for such an honor came after guiding the team to a 15-15 overall record in its first year of reclassification to Division I. The Lopes, originally tabbed to finish eighth in the Western Athletic Conference, used a 10-6 conference mark to claim third place among the nine teams. GCU also received a bid to the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament, its first at the Division I level.
Before starting his tenure at Grand Canyon, Majerle spent five years as an assistant coach with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns from 2008-13. He is one of the most popular figures in Suns history, having also played eight seasons with the team from 1988 to 1995 and 2001-02.
In all, Majerle played 14 seasons in the NBA and averaged 11.4 points over 955 career games. He made three All-Star appearances and also was named to the 1990-91 and 1992-93 NBA 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 league’s Sixth Man Award in 1990-91 with averages of 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He averaged a career-best 17.3 points during the 1991-92 season, the same year that he was selected for his first NBA All-Star Game.
Majerle made his second consecutive trip to the All-Star Game in 1992-93 and finished tied for the league lead in 3-point field goals with 167. He set a Suns record with eight 3-pointers made on Jan. 30, 1993, and did it once more in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals against the Seattle SuperSonics.
Following the 1993-94 season, Majerle was named one of the members of Dream Team II, the U.S. basketball squad that won gold at the 1994 World Championship of Basketball in Ontario, Canada. This was Majerle’s second time representing his country, the first coming with the U.S. Olympic basketball team that won the bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, where he played under iconic basketball coach 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 as he averaged 17.4 points in the first half of the season, becoming the first reserve to be voted an All-Star starter since fan balloting began in 1975.
Majerle, originally from Traverse City, Mich., played college basketball 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 of his career. 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 all-time in scoring, steals and field-goal percentage.
In 2003, Majerle’s outstanding playing career was recognized by the Phoenix Sun when they placed him in the prestigiou Ring of Honor. Each year since then, the Suns organization has handed out the Dan Majerle Hustle Award, given to the player who most personifies the same hustle and determination displayed by Majerle in his playing career.