Rick Majerus Press Conference Quotes

Dec. 15, 2004

Dec. 15, 2004

Rick Majerus Press Conference Quotes

USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett

'Welcome, everyone. Today is a big day in the history of our basketball program here at USC. Basketball is very important to us, as a matter of fact, every sport is important to us here at USC. We desire to win a national championship and produce great student-athletes and uphold our tradition as an academic institution. Today, I would like to announce that our new head men's basketball coach is Rick Majerus. I think many of you know his history. Let's say this, all of the USC alumni and staff are excited about this move. We think it's the right move in the history of our department. Without any further ado, I would like to introduce the new men's basketball coach at USC, Rick Majerus...'

USC Head Men's Basketball Coach Rick Majerus

'I want to thank ESPN and Mark Shapiro, first of all. It's hard to start a press conference that way, but they made a major commitment to me and I have to anticipate that he did not like this certainly within the context of the time frame. Everyone who I worked with there were terrific. I am appreciative of the opportunity that they gave me there. It was a phenomenal experience. Second of all, I want to thank Mike Garrett. I consider it an honor and privilege to work for a great competitor and player and I mean that sincerely. He understands sports and the perspective of being a player, certainly from a coach's perspective. It's always better to work for someone who has competed at the highest level who has the empathy and understanding than perhaps those who do not. (Senior associate athletic director) Daryl Gross was fantastic to me. He was a point person that I have a great relationship with. He really sold the school although it did not need much selling. Both Mike and Daryl were great. I have some dear friends, who are SC grads. I know a guy who runs a pizza place in Orange County, who is an SC guy. Hopefully, I'm not eating too many pizzas there (crowd laughing). I know a guy who is a multi-millionaire and a billionaire. It's interesting when the pizza guy and the billionaire say the same thing, it's pretty much true.'

'I want to congratulate Pete Carroll and Matt Leinart and the football team. If they ever need me to suit up and be a suburban, white Gilbert Brown...I can do that. I met Coach Carroll at a charity event last year. I know people that know him and obviously, he is a great coach. There is a great football program here. I look on that as a plus.'

'Concerning my health issue, Daryl did a great job in his diligence. I never had a heart attack. I have had seven bypasses...you know, one for every major food group (crowd laughing)...two from the barbeque division. I can only say this about health, it's an interesting thing. My mom is five-foot-eight, weighs 125 pounds. She is statuesque and a very beautiful woman. It's hard to look at her and say `that's his mother'. She got breast cancer and is close to being a vegetarian, working out all the time now. I am a big fundraiser for breast cancer. One of three people are going to get it. It's like when I went to law school and they said `look to your left and your right because one of those people won't be there'. Could I have a heart attack? Sure. I could also get cancer. If you want like NASCAR, you could ride with me and get hit on one of these freeways. I think my health is good or otherwise, I wouldn't do this. My doctors and physicians encouraged me to do it. I would have not left ESPN for any job other than this one. I have been fortunate to coach seven Academic All-Americans, three Rhodes Scholar candidates, 140 players on the honor roll and graduated, although the NCAA doesn't list all of my Mormon players, at a rate that is much higher than the average NCAA rate. I was fortunate to get a great education at Marquette. I went to law school for a while, but didn't stay because I wanted to coach. The paramount concern for my players is that they get a quality education. It's phenomenal here. It's a place that would attract a quality student. Within the context of the university, there is a place for a guy like (former Utah players and current NBA players) Andre Miller, Keith Van Horn and Michael Doleac and that appealed to me. They have the winning tradition here and a great football program. I don't think they have to be mutually exclusive. I hope that Pete Carroll becomes my best friend. I see Michigan, Texas and Florida and a number of schools are good football/basketball schools and I'm hoping this can be one as well. When they said at Utah they were going to hire Urban Meyer, they were hiring another Rick Majerus. On ESPN, I said the only problem is he left after two years, I stayed there 15 years. I almost became a Mormon (crowd laughing).'

'The nicest thing is no one will ask me how soon you are going to leave here. I hope I die here. I hope I coach here for the rest of my life. I have no aspirations to go to pro ball. I hope to end my career here, but only after a long stint. I want to be here as long as they would want to have me. I understand the machinations of a quality education, my parents never graduated from high school. I wish my dad was here today, he would be honored. I can't tell you what a privilege and how exciting this is. I am looking forward to it. I met with (interim head coach) Jim Saia and he couldn't have been nicer. There are six seniors on this team, I recruited one of them and they want to have a great year. I wouldn't begin to offer suggestions as to how Coach Saia should play. He has to coach the team and I want those kids to have a wonderful experience. The timing is unique because of my availability. I won't coach the team nor would that be fair to anyone, but I am pulling for them. When the season is over, I hope that every underclassman stays. I have watched about 20 hours of film on the team. Every kid there I have made an assessment and would like them to stay. I would like the seniors to go out and win a championship. It would be a good thing for them.'

'I look forward to going to USC football games. I am appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of this.'

(emotions of the day)

'I am so excited about this. I had to resign from ESPN. They didn't ask me to do that, but it was the right thing to do. All of a sudden, I'm a coach now with a program so I did not want to put them in any peril. It's a great opportunity and a great school. Today, I was swimming at Loyola Marymount and I was watching those water polo kids work out and I see how hard they work. You want to be successful at something, look at those swimmers. You wake up at 6 a.m., put your head in the water and look at a line for an hour or two (crowd laughing). I'm excited about the possibilities that are here. I want to go slow. I want to assess what we have. I'm not in any hurry. I want to offer any support for the kids, especially the seniors. I love southern California. I won't coach anywhere ever again. I don't foresee that.'

(health regimen)

'I work out all the time. I have a great guy existence. I like to go out, eat, talk some basketball. I'm going to hire a cook to help me. The exercise has never been an issue. I like to bike. I could beat Lance Armstrong, only because he couldn't pass me if he was behind me (crowd laughing).'

(Los Angeles restaurants)

'I have to find some salad places, I've got to go where Jennifer Aniston eats (crowd laughing).'

(potential of USC basketball)

'I think it has a lot of potential because first and foremost, it's a great university with the makeup and the academic discipline, curriculum and faculty. It's a private university with a smaller class size. If you bring someone in that wants to go to medical school, you can do that. I don't want this to detract one bit from the football program and current success, I am so excited for them and the bowl game.'


'I love coaching. I have a great passion for it. I still have a ball in the back of my car. I love to play.'

(factor of new on-campus arena)

'I would come here even if it there wasn't a new arena. It's just a plus. You have to work with people and have a relationship. This university, under Dr. Sample, and department, under Mike Garrett, have been a vanguard. I never liked the nice locker room. I like a good film room, but I wouldn't want the kids in the locker room. You want them to get out of the locker room and get to class or the court. It's going to be a plus, but it's just an add-on. It's a phenomenal academic institution with an incredible athletic department.'

(competing against UCLA)

'Ben (Howland's) a great coach and (former Utah assistant under Majerus) Donny's (Daniels) a great coach and wonderful guy. I think it will be a good rivalry. I was always more worried about what we are doing. Now the two or three times we play them, I want to win, but Donny did a wonderful job coaching and Ben is a good guy so I wish them all of the luck except when they play us.'

'I'm not into this for the short haul. I'm into it for longevity and build this thing. I'm fully aware that they are six seniors on the team.'

(coming back to coaching)

'When I did TV and went to Wake Forest for example, all I did was talk about X's and O's and basketball. They laughed at me when I came to my first game with 38 pages of notes. I had looked at all of this tape. The guy said `you don't have to win the game for both teams, you just have to talk about it'. TV is a pretty good deal, but when I went on the road...all I ever did was talk basketball. I really missed it. Fifteen years at one place is a long time. I loved coaching at Utah. I love the kids. I am not procrastinating this year. I certainly do not want this year written off for the six seniors and USC community because no one would be happier than me if they won the conference title. It's certainly a daunting challenge. I'm hoping those kids can have a good experience.'

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