December 21, 2004

Majerus says he wasn't fit for duty with USC

Rick Majerus apologized Monday for backing out of the Southern Cal basketball coaching job less than a week after taking it, saying he just isn't healthy enough to put in "18-hour days" like he used to.

"I made a mistake," he said at a Los Angeles news conference. "I was blinded by this opportunity. But I'd be doing them a disservice and myself a disservice. Right now I just can't bring it. I looked at myself and thought that I was a phony.

"I realized they weren't getting the guy they hired. I'm not fit enough for this job for my standards."

Majerus, 56, has had problems with his heart and his weight, which has been around 370 pounds. He cited health concerns when he retired as Utah's coach last January after 15 seasons. He plans to return to his ESPN job.

Assistant Jim Saia, named the interim head coach after Henry Bibby was fired four games into the season, will remain in the post for the rest of this season, said Trojans athletic director Mike Garrett.

"This is the shortest-lived head coaching job, I think, in the history of NCAA basketball," Garrett said. "It's a tremendous loss. He's the best."

Said Majerus: "No one's hurt here. They're going to get a great coach, get a coach better than I am, probably.

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