SORRY, WE COULDN'T resist. Now that Utah coach Rick Majerus is staying - we think - this calls for another round of Majerus mythology.
It seems that even as a freshman coach at Marquette High in Milwaukee, Majerus required total commitment from his players. He would line up those trying out for the team and make them run repeated wind sprints to weed out the weaklings. He once held a practice on New Year's Eve from 8-11 p.m., then held a 6 a.m. practice the next day.But Majerus wasn't just good at cracking the whip. He was also good at psychology. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he ordered his players to shave their heads before the start of one season. When they opened the year on the road, the crowd mocked them. (This was at the height of the long-hair era.)
Majerus pulled his team to the sideline during warmups and said, "They're laughing at you." Marquette High won by 70 points and went on to an undefeated season.
MONEY TALKS: You can call Pat Summitt - the Tennessee women's coach who has won six national championships - a great coach. You can call her a work-obssessed basketball fanatic. You might even be able to call her a tyrant.
But call her a pioneer for women's sports, and she'll just shrug.
Summitt, who was in Salt Lake over the weekend to accept the John and Nellie Wooden Awards, brushes aside talk of being a groundbreaking coach.
"People refer to me as a pioneer or a living legend," she says, clearly unimpressed. "But I'm - in my opinion - just fortunate to be doing something I absolutely love to do."
She continues, "At one time I didn't get paid a whole lot, now I'm compensated in a nice fashion. But the most important measure of my success is my happiness, and I'm really happy. I think I'm in a position where I can continue to teach and make a difference for young women."
Summitt, who turned Tennessee into the dominant women's basketball program in American, adds that people ask her all the time how it all happened. No mystery there.
"I just believe that winning helps," she adds. "That solves a lot of problems, wins a lot of fans, gains a lot of respect and you get a lot of support."
Then there's the matter of the recruiting budget - which she admits can go a long way toward making someone a good coach.
"They really provided the resources early on. Then all you've got to do is give me a little money. I can go recruit players and coaches. I can spend money - but hopefully in a smart way."
Judging by her record, she's doing that, too.
MINOR (LEAGUE) ADJUSTMENTS: The first-year Professional Indoor Football League should borrow the old NBA slogan: "I love this game." Someone must. Utah Catzz players earn just $200 a game. They practice twice a week and played all four exhibition games for free.
After Saturday night's win over the Minnesota Monsters, coach Gordon Hudson lauded his team, saying, "A couple of guys just got off work in time to make the game."
What a way to relax after work: getting ground into the dasher boards by a 290-pound defensive lineman.
But playing for pocket change is only one of the challenges. Teams are required by the league to send a scouting tape to opponents. But the tape the Catzz got from Minnesota was one the coaches could barely see.
Saturday night, Hudson pointed to the playing field from deep underneath the stands and said, "They shot it from about right here," claiming it looked as though it had been filmed with a hand-held mini-cam.
Hey, nobody said it had to be a GOOD tape.
ADD SUMMITT: The Volunteers coach admits she yells at her players. She has even been caught on film grabbing a player by the jersey to get her attention. But down inside, she's a softy.
Having an eight-year-old son has helped.
"It's brought a lot of balance and he's taught me to understand kids better," says Summitt. "You realize how fragile they are and how much you need to reassure them." College players?
"Oh yeah," she adds. "They're just a taller kid."