Rick Majerus still isn't talking, but it is appearing more and more like the Utah basketball coach won't be going to University of Texas, where Washington coach Bob Bender has emerged as the top candidate.
Majerus met with Ute players individually Tuesday and planned to meet with other players Wednesday as well as his assistant coaches. He is planning to leave Wednesday night for Phoenix, where Michael Doleac is participating in a pre-NBA draft rookie camp.One Ute player who met with Majerus for a long time Tuesday believes Majerus isn't going anywhere based on his conversation.
"He didn't say, but I personally think he's coming back from the way he talked," the player said.
Assistant coach Jeff Judkins said Majerus has said nothing to the coaches one way or another about his future plans.
Meanwhile, a high-ranking University of Texas source said that while no decision had been made, Bender had moved to the top of Texas' short list after school officials became concerned about what it would cost to land Majerus."
Majerus is reported to make around $1 million annually including his shoe deal with Reebok and summer camps. Bender makes $347,500 at Washington. Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds has said the basketball coach won't be paid more than football coach Mack Brown, who makes $750,000 annually.
Apparently the 40-year-old Bender may be a better fit for the image Texas is looking for. Bender has been described as "engaging, easygoing," while former Texas coach Tom Penders and Majerus have reputations for speaking their minds.
According the Austin American-Statesman, Alice Bender said she doubted her husband would make a decision before Thursday because he didn't want to interfere with the year-end banquet for the Washington basketball team that night.