Mike Sorensen: Enigmatic Majerus will be remembered in Utah

Published: Sunday, Dec. 2 2012 6:00 p.m. MST

A year or two after he resigned his job, I talked to a writer I knew from Albuquerque, who did a big feature on Majerus. He told me he talked for at least an hour to Rick, who regaled him with stories about his favorite restaurants in town and his memories of playing at The Pit. All this for a guy he saw maybe twice a year.

Yet when the writer who talked to him hundreds of times called to get an interview looking back on his career at Utah and an update on what he was up to at the time, it was a different story. Though he was gracious, Majerus couldn’t get off the phone fast enough, saying, “Tell everyone there, I’m doing fine” before quickly hanging up. When Alex Jensen, his favorite player of all time who was his assistant coach at the time, asked him if he would talk to the same Utah writer for a story about the 10-year anniversary of the 1998 team, he refused.

Although we never had a close personal relationship, I do remember one of the most meaningful things he ever said to me. While most of the hundreds of articles I wrote about him and his team were positive, there were a few that were critical, like his handling of the Marc Jackson and Lance Allred affairs or the NCAA sanctions in 2003 or his annual early-season games against the likes of Cardinal Stritch. But he gave me perhaps the best compliment a journalist can get, when he said, “you’ve always been fair with me.’’

That’s the same thing most of his former players would say about Majerus. They may not have liked him or agreed with some of his tactics, but they’d say he was always fair.

I expect the U. athletic department will honor Majerus soon, perhaps even within the next few months. I know they’ve tried to put him in the Crimson Club Hall of Fame, and that would be very appropriate. So would hoisting a cream-colored sweater to the Huntsman Center rafters next to the jerseys of Keith Van Horn and Andre Miller, the two best players he coached at Utah.

That day should come soon. It’s just too bad Majerus won’t be around to see it.

E-mail: sor@desnews.com Twitter: sorny8

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