The search for a basketball coach at the University of Utah is in a holding pattern and will most likely stay that way until after a national champion is crowned Monday night in Seattle.
University of Utah Athletic Director Chris Hill flew to Seattle Friday with more on his mind than watching basketball games. Originally he had planned to take his wife with him, but he didn't because this trip is going to be mostly business. Hill plans to discuss the vacant coaching position with various people. Coaches from all over the country will be on hand for their annual convention this week in conjunction with the Final Four.Reports earlier in the week had Ball State Coach Rick Majerus as the Utes' man if he wanted the job. Apparently Majerus does want the job, according to sources in Indiana. But for some reason, Hill has backed off for the time being - perhaps to do more checking on Majerus or maybe to look at other candidates.
The 40-year-old Majerus has been sought after by many schools and is known to have turned down the Cincinnati job Sunday. Apparently he could have had the jobs at Duquesne and Dayton if he'd wanted them.
Money apparently isn't a large concern for Majerus, who is said to be comfortable financially. His father, who recently passed away, was the second-highest ranking official at the United Auto Workers in Detroit. Majerus' base salary at Ball State was $55,000 his first year and $61,000 this year. The total package for former Ute Coach Lynn Archibald was said to be in six figures when radio, TV and shoe contracts were figured in. The extras at Ball State are considerably less than at Utah.
Hill has insisted all along that there was no rush to sign a new coach and that one wouldn't have to be named by the April 12 letter-of-intent date for high school seniors. The Utes signed five players to early letters of intent in the fall signing period and assistant coaches Larry Eustachy and Trent Johnson are still pursuing three more players they hope to sign.
Other candidates who could still be getting a good look by Hill in Seattle include St. Mary's Lynn Nance, Southwest Missouri State's Charlie Spoonhour, New Orleans' Tim Floyd and Boise State's Bobby Dye.
Majerus, who has told sources he'd like to move west if he leaves Ball State, reportedly is interested in the open job at Washington and will get a first-hand look while he is in Seattle this weekend.