December 14, 2004

Back to business: Majerus accepts USC post

Rick Majerus accepted an offer Tuesday night to coach the Southern California men's basketball team beginning at the end of the 2004-05 season, multiple sources have told

The former Utah coach is expected to sign a five-year contract with the Trojans and will resign immediately as an ESPN college basketball analyst.

At USC (3-3), Majerus will succeed Henry Bibby, who was fired last week. Jim Saia will remain as interim coach through this season. Saia is 1-1 since taking over for Bibby, who coached the Trojans to a 2-2 record before being dismissed.

USC is expected to announce Majerus' hiring as early as Wednesday. Majerus is in Los Angeles and is expected to be on campus Wednesday afternoon.

The 57-year-old Majerus was in the first year of a five-year deal with ESPN and is expected to pay a negotiated buyout to the network. He worked his last game for ESPN on Monday night in Philadelphia, where Wake Forest beat Temple.

Majerus has longed to coach at Southern California and told those close to him that this was the only job for which he would leave ESPN. He wrestled with the decision but couldn't foresee missing out on the opportunity. He apparently will lay low and rest for the next three months and not coach over Saia's shoulder.

Majerus quit as Utah's coach last January, citing health reasons. Majerus is known to be one of college basketball's best teachers of the game. He coached Utah to the national championship game in 1998, where the Utes lost to Kentucky. He has also had coaching stops at Ball State, Marquette and with the Milwaukee Bucks as an assistant coach.

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