Thursday, December 09, 2004

Late Night

It was a late evening last night, and I didn't have the chance to do a nightly write-up as usual, so today's update may have to wait until this evening, thus making my Wisconsin-UW-Green Bay comments painfully late, and further making any observations on last night's games irrelevant. I probably won't even have the chance to watch anything tonight, as I have to network with young lawyers after work. Since I've got 5 spare minutes, though, I'll weigh in with my thoughts on the Rick Majerus to USC situation, and other Rick-related thoughts, since I saw the interview with Rick last night.

1) I am doubtful that Rick Majerus is going to head to USC. I think he would like to be coaching again, but I also think that he really liked coaching Utah. For him to give that up as he did last year says something about his physical ability to continue with the business of coaching. I also think it would be disingenuous for him to retire due to health issues, and then return to coaching a year and a half later as if nothing had happened. Utah was very good to Rick, and that's one of the reasons that he didn't bolt to Wisconsin when he was offered the job a few years ago while on a leave of absence due to his mother's health. Lord knows he would have loved to be back in Wisconsin, but he knew that it would be a slap in the face to Utah, given the timing. The situation is a little different here, but I still think that Majerus isn't leaving Utah if he doesn't have a darn good reason. And given Rick's size, I don't think any health reason that he could have given would be cleared up in a year and a half. For my own sake, I hope he stays on with ESPN for as long as he can, because the more Rick Majerus talks, the happier I am.

2) Even in retirement, the obligatory mention of Rick Majerus anytime a coaching vacancy arises still occurs. Is there any school that doesn't want this guy? I wish I could get to the point in my profession where every potential employer in the country contacted me when they had a job opening.

3) Rick Majerus's transformation into a good coach came as a shock to me, as my ealiest college basketball memories were of sitting with my dad in the Mecca at Marquette games, watching a bald, screaming idiot breate such greats as Kerry Trotter, Pat Foley and Tom Copa. I was only 6 years old or so, but even then, I knew that Majerus wasn't real effective. Imagine my surprise when Ball State took off, and he became a viable coach, rather than just a screaming jackass (the latter of which, by the way, now seems an odd memory, given his seemingly friendly demeanor).

4) I remember the day in 6th grade when I heard about Majerus having heart surgery and receiving 8 bypasses. But more notably, I also remember him getting healthy shortly thereafter and running a marathon or two. If you've seen Rick Majerus lately (or any time in his life, really), I think the message is clear: If Rick Majerus can run a marathon, there's hope for us all.

5) As a young lawyer who works with Marquette guys, I occasionally hear the story of Majerus's stint in law school. A guy who's friendly with one of the lawyers at my firm was the same year as Majerus, and was wait-listed at Marquette's law school, where he really wanted to go. He was next in line for a spot when school started, but Marquette couldn't guarantee him anything, so he left for a law school in Cleveland. Meanwhile, Majerus began school at Marquette, and was done within a week. Reflecting on my first week of law school, I can certainly understand why. In any event, the guy who went to Cleveland somehow found out about this, but was committed to staying at his school already. As a conselation, though, he still gets to tell people that Rick Majerus took his spot in law school, only to screw it up. Looks like Rick made the right call, though.


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