When Tom Penders gave his resignation speech after stepping down as the University of Texas coach on Thursday, he suggested the Texas administration take a look at his good friend, Rick Majerus.
However, in reality he may steer Majerus away if the Utah coach should show any interest in the Texas job. Penders had trouble with players who wanted him out as well as an athletic director he clashed with.Already this week, Majerus has taken his team to the national championship game and turned down the head coaching job at Arizona State. The day after turning down the ASU job, his name has popped up as a prime candidate at Texas.
It is one of a handful of jobs that Majerus might take a serious look at because of the prominence the University of Texas has as an athletic and academic institution. Another plus is that it is a Reebok school, meaning Majerus would not run into the problem he had going to Arizona State, a Nike school. Majerus has a contract worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with Reebok.
"He's definitely at the top of the list," said one source in Texas. Among the other names being mentioned in connection for the job are Washington's Bob Bender, Stanford's Mike Montgomery, Iowa State's Tim Floyd and Wake Forest's Dave Odom.
Other positives at Texas include the lack of pressure with it being primarily a football school and the chance to be one of the dominant teams in the Big 12, along with Kansas. Texas also has a good, young team with four excellent young players returning, including 7-foot Chris Mihm and 6-9 Luke Axtell.
However, if Majerus' comments Thursday after he turned down the ASU position are any indication, he'll be coaching at Utah again in the fall.
"I have a wonderful situation and a tremendous school . . . I have players I feel indebted to . . . I've got great kids . . . I have people that care about me and I care a lot about them" were some of the comments Majerus made about his job.
When ESPN's Chris Meyers asked him why he was staying at Utah, he said, "Alex Jensen, Andre Miller, Drew Hansen, Mike Doleac and Hanno Mottola."
As for reaching the national championship game, he said, "Obviously it's the pinnacle of my coaching career and I thank my players so much."
After all those gushy comments about his players, is there any way Majerus could suddenly take off for another job?
Majerus was in Los Angeles Friday doing some recruiting and making a guest appearance on the Jay Leno Show. He planned to go to Milwaukee Saturday to appear at a clinic and is supposed to come back to Utah next week.