I know there have been a lot of columns about Rick Majerus (here is my column linking to several others), but perhaps the most personal and inside one is this one by Doug Gottlieb, formerly of ESPN now with CBS Sports. (and I want to thank my friend Pat Sheltra for poiningt this out and tossing out a lot of ideas in this column. If you are a Utah fan and haven’t read his book on Utah Football, stop reading and order it now).
Gottlieb lets us know an interesting thing about Majerus. That he stayed at Utah longer than he should have to make sure he had lifetime health care. Essentially you need to work for the University for 10 full calender years before you have access to lifetime health benefits. Each of Majerus’ sabaticals meant that year didn’t count. It also means that when he left in early 2004 is because he officially hit his 10 year mark on Jan 1st, 2004.
That might explain a great deal about those last few years at Utah. I’ve always thought something about Rick seemed different after losing in the national title game and then the upset by Miami (Ohio) when Andre Miller’s wrist was hurt. He seemed harder somehow. Looking back, he might have intended for that 2002-03 team to be one more run at it all. Here are some things to think about.
1. Andrew Bogut was supposed to join that team.
2. Four players, Marc Jackson, Nick Jacobsen, Tim Frost, Tim Drisdom shot better than 40% from three.
3. Tim Frost hurt his back and became a limited to no factor.
4. Britton Johnsen got mono.
Do we really think a team like that wouldn’t have been capable of a huge run?
But no matter what check out the Gottlieb Column. Its a great read.