Rick Majerus Named USC Men's Basketball Coach For 2005-06 Season

Dec. 15, 2004

Los Angeles - Rick Majerus, one of college's top basketball coaches who has won more than 400 games and made 15 post-season appearances in his 20-Year career, was hired today (Dec. 15) as USC's men's basketball coach, effective on April 1, 2005, Trojan athletic director Mike Garrett announced today.

Jim Saia, who was appointed USC's interim head coach when Henry Bibby was relieved of his duties as head coach on Dec. 6, will remain in that role the remainder of this season.

Majerus, who signed a multiYear contract with USC, has stepped down from his current job as an ESPN college basketball analyst to avoid any conflict of interest.

'This is an amazing day for the USC men's basketball program,' said Garrett. 'Rick Majerus is one of America's great coaches. He has a proven track record, he is a sound technician of the game, he is an outstanding recruiter and he has done a great job of developing young men. And he is one of the sport's true personalities. He is a perfect fit with USC, our players and our fans as we begin an exciting era of basketball in the new Galen Center.'

Said Majerus: 'I'm excited about the opportunity to coach the USC men's basketball team. I consider it an honor and privilege. There was no coaching opportunity in America except the USC job that I would have left ESPN for. I'm looking forward to my return to coaching. I missed it more than I ever imagined.'

Majerus, 56, is 422-147 in 20 seasons as a head coach, with 15 of his teams playing in the post-season. He reached the pinnacle of his profession by coaching in an NCAA championship game. His career winning percentage of 74.2% ranks among the Top 20 all-time. He never has had a losing season while averaging 21 wins a Year. His teams have been known for their outstanding half-court defense and finely-tuned offense, as well as their achievements in the classroom.

He had great success in his 15 Years (1990-2004) at Utah, where he owned a 323-95 record (.773) and was the National Coach of the Year in 1991, 1992 and 1998. His Utes made 10 trips to the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the 1998 championship game (they lost to Kentucky). His teams got to 4 NCAA Sweet 16s, including back-to-back Elite Eight appearances (1997 and 1998). His 1992 team was third in the NIT. His squads won 10 Western Athletic Conference titles. He coached 5 All-Americans.

He also was the head coach at Marquette for three Years (1984-86) and Ball State for two seasons (1988-89), going 56-35 and 43-17, respectively. Marquette went to the NIT each Year and his 1989 Ball State club played in the NCAA tourney. He was the 1989 National Coach of the Year.

He was an assistant at Marquette for 12 seasons (1972-83), including during its 1977 national championship and 1974 NCAA Final Four runs, and with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1987. Marquette made it to the post-season each Year, including 11 trips to the NCAA tourney, and the Bucks were in the NBA playoffs.

After resigning from his Utah job this past January for health reasons (his team was 15-5 at the time), Majerus worked for ESPN in recent months as a studio and game analyst.

He was born on Feb. 17, 1948, in Sheboygan, Wis., and grew up in Milwaukee. He prepped at Marquette University High and then attended Marquette, where he graduated in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in history (he obtained a master's degree in education from there in 1979).

While a student at Marquette, he began his coaching career as an assistant at Milwaukee's St. Sebastian Junior High and then at Marquette University High.

Internationally, Majerus was the head coach of the 1997 USA Basketball Men's 22-and-Under team, as well as an assistant with the 1993 Team USA collegiate team and the 1994 USA Basketball Dream Team II that won a gold medal at the Men's World Basketball Championships.

A popular speaker at banquets and clinics, he makes an average of 50 appearances a Year. His autobiography, 'My Life On A Napkin: Pillow Mints, Playground Dreams and Coaching The Runnin' Utes,' was published in 1999, with proceeds going toward breast cancer research.

Rick Majerus Statement

'I'm excited about the opportunity to coach the USC men's basketball team. I consider it an honor and privilege. I understand the significance of USC's academic agenda and how it offers its students a quality curriculum and a world-class faculty. And I'm looking forward to competing in such an outstanding league as the Pac-10.

'It's a distinct privilege to work for an athletic director like Mike Garrett, a great competitor who understands the commitment made by student-athletes and coaches. And senior associate athletic director Daryl Gross is a tremendous ambassador of USC. Little did I know when he called me recently that this would snowball so fast. He painted a picture of USC as heaven on earth more so than my Mormon friends ever did.

'I have two good friends-Jeffrey Smulyan and Jon Huntsman, both USC graduates-who also are friends with USC president Steven Sample. They have extolled his virtues and told me he is a terrific leader who places a premium on a quality education.

'I'm looking forward to my return to coaching. I missed it more than I ever imagined. I was recently with two of my former Utah players, Keith Van Horn and Michael Doleac. They offered encouragement and said it seemed like my heart is in coaching and I should purpose my dream.

'There was no coaching opportunity in America except the USC job that I would have left ESPN for. It was an outstanding honor to be an ESPN broadcaster. But to prevent any conflict of interest, I had to resign from my ESPN job. No one appreciates the efficiency, excellence and commitment that makes ESPN the worldwide leader in sports. I will miss my friends there and I will always cherish my time at ESPN.

'I'm also looking forward to working alongside Trojan football coach Pete Carroll. If he needs a Gilbert Brown-type player on occasion, maybe I'll wander by football practice and plug up the offensive line.'

Rick Majerus Year-BY-Year


Year Overall Pct. Conf. Postseason

1983-84 17-13 .567 (Independent) NIT

1984-85 20-11 .645 (Independent) NIT

1985-86 19-11 .633 (Independent) NIT

Totals (3 Yr.) 56-35 .615


Year Overall Pct. Conf. Finish Postseason

1987-88 14-14 .500 8-8 4th - -

1988-89 29-3 .906 14-2 1st NCAA 2nd Round

Totals (2 Yr.) 43-17 .717 22-10


Year Overall Pct. Conf. Finish Postseason

1989-90 (a) 4-2 .667 - - - - - -

1990-91 30-4 .882 15-1 1st NCAA Sweet 16

1991-92 24-11 .686 9-7 4th NIT Final Four

1992-93 24-7 .774 15-3 1st-T NCAA 2nd Round

1993-94 14-14 .500 8-10 5th-T - -

1994-95 28-6 .824 15-3 1st NCAA 2nd Round

1995-96 27-7 .794 15-3 1st NCAA Sweet 16

1996-97 29-4 .878 15-1 1st * NCAA Elite Eight

1997-98 30-4 .882 12-2 1st * NCAA Runner-up

1998-99 28-5 .848 14-0 1st * NCAA 2nd Round

1999-00 23-9 .719 10-4 1st-T NCAA 2nd Round

2000-01 (b) 1-0 1.000 - - - - - -

2001-02 21-9 .700 10-4 2nd NCAA 1st Round

2002-03 25-8 .758 11-3 1st-T NCAA 2nd Round

2003-04 (c) 15-5 .750 3-2 - - - -

Totals (15 Yr.) 323-95 .773 152-43

Career (20 Yr.) 422-147 .742 174-53

* WAC Division Finish(a) Missed last 24 games due to heart surgery(b) Missed last 30 games while taking a leave of absence to recover from knee and heart surgery and to care for his ill mother(c) Resigned after 20 games because of chest pains


Year Overall Pct. Head Coach Postseason

1971-72 25-4 .862 Al McGuire NCAA Tournament

1972-73 25-4 .862 Al McGuire NCAA Tournament

1973-74 26-5 .839 Al McGuire NCAA Final Four

1974-75 23-4 .852 Al McGuire NCAA Tournament

1975-76 27-2 .931 Al McGuire NCAA Tournament

1976-77 25-7 .781 Al McGuire NCAA Champions

1977-78 24-4 .857 Hank Raymonds NCAA Tournament

1978-79 22-7 .759 Hank Raymonds NCAA Tournament

1979-80 18-9 .667 Hank Raymonds NCAA Tournament

1980-81 20-11 .645 Hank Raymonds NIT

1981-82 23-9 .719 Hank Raymonds NCAA Tournament

1982-83 19-10 .655 Hank Raymonds NCAA Tournament

Totals (12 Yr.) 277-76 .785 12 Years


Year Overall Pct. Head Coach Postseason

1986-87 50-32 .610 Don Nelson NBA Playoffs

Career (13 Yr.) 327-108 .752

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