In a change of heart that puts previous quick exits by Billy Beane and Bobby Cremins to shame, former Utah head coach Rick Majerus has resigned from the same position at the University Of Southern California, just days after agreeing to succeed Henry Bibby. From ESPN.com’s Andy Katz :
Majerus’ representation began contacting ESPN as early as Thursday, saying that he had some second thoughts about returning to coaching. Majerus is expected to make a formal announcement Monday.
USC officials were blindsided Saturday afternoon after the Trojans beat Western Michigan at home with the news. The administration, including athletic director Mike Garrett, wasn’t ready to make a comment on the matter.
But the Trojans’ assistants knew there had been some suspicious behavior in the past few days from Majerus.
Saia told ESPN.com that Majerus met with him Tuesday night and the two discussed recruiting and what Majerus needed to focus on during the next three months. But Saia said Majerus canceled a recruiting meeting with assistant coach Bob Cantu, scheduled for Thursday morning. Majerus had already assigned assistant Eric Brown to go to a junior college tournament Friday at Saddleback Community College (Calif.), which Brown attended.
Then, on Friday, Majerus canceled a meeting with the four returning players who would still have eligibility left next season. Majerus talked to the team for 10 minutes on Wednesday, according to the current USC staff.
Saia was driving home after the win Saturday, trying to save his voice, and was stunned when Cantu called him to tell him the news.
“It’s a shock, I don’t know what to say,” said Saia, 40.
Majerus, 56, is expected to return to ESPN as a game analyst in some capacity.
Meanwhile, Saia now has a chance to get the full-time job. The Trojans are unlikely to go the route of a coach during the season and will likely let the season play out. USC alumnus Paul Westphal of Pepperdine likely becomes the top outside candidate.