Majerus glad to be back in the game

Posted: May 01, 2007

Rick Majerus yesterday was introduced as the new basketball coach at St. Louis University.

Majerus replaces Brad Soderberg, who won 20 games in the last of his five seasons but failed to generate even an NIT bid his last 3 years. Soderberg was fired April 17.

Majerus, an ESPN analyst the last 3 years, agreed to a 6-year contract Friday.

"I saw this as an opportunity," the 59-year-old coach said at a news conference. "I don't think I forgot how to do it. I love practice and I love the kids and I like the game."

Majerus led Utah to 10 NCAA appearances in 15 seasons. He also has coached at Ball State and Marquette, and was a Milwaukee Bucks assistant. He has a career record of 422-147 with 15 postseason appearances.

"The coaching profession is a much better place today because Rick Majerus is back in it," Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "Rick has proven time and time again what it takes to win."

Majerus coached Utah to the NCAA Tournament final in 1998, losing to Kentucky. He stepped down in January 2004 because of his health. He accepted the Southern California job in December 2004 only to change his mind 3 days later. Last year, he turned down an offer to become a Denver Nuggets assistant.

Athletic director Cheryl Levick wanted to give Soderberg one more season but was overruled by the school's president, Father Lawrence Biondi, who envisioned the hiring of Majerus as a complement to the school's new $85 million on-campus arena due to open in November 2008.

Majerus stepped down at Utah in January 2004 because of health reasons.

"I swim 1 mile every day, and on a good day a mile and a half. I think my health is good, or I wouldn't do this. It wouldn't be fair to them," he said.

Soccer

* Former French national goalkeeper Fabien Barthez is quitting Nantes, saying angry and threatening fans have made him fear for his safety. Several fans surrounded his car as he left the stadium after Saturday's French league loss to Rennes and tried to pull him out. Barthez, a World Cup and European Championship winner with France, has made costly errors in recent games and was jeered by fans during Saturday's game.

* The United States and several other countries are capable of hosting the 2010 World Cup if South Africa isn't ready, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said.

Cycling

* France's anti-doping agency has asked outside experts to verify that its lab correctly handled tests that pointed to suspected cheating by Tour de France champion Floyd Landis, the agency's chief said. Landis' camp launched new accusations of wrongdoing against the French lab on Sunday, saying it had mishandled and erased computer files involving doping tests during a crucial stage in Landis' 2006 Tour win.

* Italian cyclist Ivan Basso quit the Discovery Channel team after Italian authorities reopened an investigation into his role in a Spanish doping scandal.

Philly File

* Paul Robeson's Aiesha Smith, a first-team All-Public honoree, has signed to play basketball at Lock Haven.

* Two Villanova football players have signed free-agent contracts with NFL teams. Safety Allyn Bacchus signed with Atlanta and center Christian Gaddis signed with Buffalo.

Hockey

* Nicklas Backstrom scored 29 seconds after the opening faceoff and defending world and Olympic champion Sweden went on to an 8-2 win over Latvia and advanced to the qualifying round of the hockey world championships in Moscow. Also advancing were Canada, Slovakia and Switzerland. *

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