Majerus to decide about coaching again in next 2 days
Saint Louis University met with former Utah coach and current ESPN analyst Rick Majerus Saturday but didn't offer him the head-coaching position, Majerus' agent told ESPN.com Saturday evening.
Sandy Montag of IMG, who represents Majerus in broadcasting and in coaching opportunities, said Majerus was asked to meet in St. Louis and did but will spend the next 24 to 48 hours deciding if he wants to return to coaching. Majerus has worked for ESPN the past three years as a studio and game analyst since leaving Utah. He led Utah to the 1998 national title game.
Majerus, who lives in Milwaukee, has been tending to his mother, who had been battling an illness, and will need to decide if he wants to take on the stress of a head-coaching position and resettle in another city.
If he does, then Majerus could be a perfect fit for the Billikens. Majerus has always liked living in cities and would be coaching at a school that would bring him back to his roots. He went to and coached at Marquette, a similar urban Catholic school that has a passionate fan base.
Saint Louis has been in the Atlantic 10 the past two seasons after leaving Conference USA and while it may be better suited geographically for the Missouri Valley, the Billikens are banking on a new $80.5 million on-campus arena to help make Saint Louis an A-10 power and NCAA player on a regular basis.
Brad Soderberg was abruptly fired last week after a 20-13 season didn't produce a postseason bid. It was the school's first 20-win season since 1997-98 but winning 20 games has been diminished since the NCAA added games to the schedule and allowed teams to play a maximum of 31 regular-season games this past season.
Soderberg was in the NIT in his first two seasons but didn't make the postseason in his final three and finished with an 80-74 record. He had two years remaining on a contract he signed in 2004.
Saint Louis hired the Dallas-based search firm of Eastman & Beaudine and the plan was to make a splash with the hire. If Majerus doesn't turn out to be the coach then expect the search firm to recommend another fellow ESPN analyst, Fran Fraschilla, who has had experience coaching in the East and at a Catholic school at St. John's. Fraschilla turned down the South Florida job earlier this spring to stay at ESPN.
Saint Louis finished 8-8 in the A-10 this past season and is widely considered to have enough talent returning with four of five starters back to be a top five team in the league next season. The top two leading scorers return in guards Tommie Liddell and Kevin Lisch, making the job much more palatable.
The Billikens' brightest moment probably came in the A-10 tournament with a 74-71 win over UMass in Atlantic City, essentially knocking the Minutemen out of an NCAA Tournament bid. But then SLU turned around and lost by 20, scoring only 40 points to eventual tourney champ George Washington in the semifinals.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com. Senior national columnist for ESPN.com Gene Wojciechowski contributed to this report.