St. Louis Billikens
Saint Louis University is a private, co-educational Catholic Jesuit university in the United States of America located in St. Louis, Missouri. It is the oldest university west of the Mississippi River, founded by the Society of Jesus in 1818. It is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The university is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The athletic teams compete in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
In the 1948-1949 the Billikens were ranked first in the first AP basketball poll. Ed Macauley of the Basketball Hall of Fame and SLU won the NIT championship in 1948 and have played in that 18 times and the last time being 2004. Larry Hughes of the Cleveland Cavaliers played one season at SLU in the 1997-1998 season, where he was selected as the consensus national Freshman of the Year. They have made the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament in 1952, 1957, 1994, 1995, 1998, and 2000. The Billikens are currently coached by Rick Majerus. Here is the List of Head Men's Basketball Coaches at Saint Louis University. Their previous other top players include Erwin Claggett, Scott Highmark, H Waldman, and Donnie Dobbs, all of whom were on the 1993-4 team that made the NCAA Tournament that ended a 37-year drought, and another top SLU player was ex-NBA journeyman Anthony Bonner.
The Blue Crew is the official cheering section of the SLU men's and women's basketball teams.
The Saint Louis University Pep Band, under the direction of Michael Beczkala, PhD., plays at all home men's and women's basketball games. With over 100 members, this is one of the largest student organizations on campus; part of its unique nature is the large number of alumni who are active members of the group. Made up of brass, woodwinds, and a rhythm section including percussion and electric bass, the SLU Pep Band is arguably one of the best pep bands in the country. SLU currently plays their basketball games at the Scottrade Center but is presently proceeding on development of a new 10,000-seat arena on the Frost campus which will bring games a lot closer to the resident student body. Construction will start by September 2006 and the arena should be ready for the 2008-2009 season.
The widespread NCAA conference realignment affected the Billikens, as they made the move from Conference USA (which was created by a merger between the Metro and Great Midwest Conferences) to the Atlantic 10 on July 1, 2005. This became the sixth conference affiliation for SLU since 1937. Through the years, SLU has been affiliated with the Missouri Valley Conference (1937-1974); the defunct Metro Conference (1975-1982); the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, now known as the Horizon League (1982-1991); and the defunct Great Midwest Conference (1991-1995).