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The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

He Admits to Just One Big Vice, With Relish

December 16, 2004|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

New USC basketball Coach Rick Majerus was a great hire, at least for Morning Briefing. The man is a walking quotebook.

Majerus, a bachelor, was quoted in the Arizona Republic in 1998 as saying, "Some guys smoke. Some guys drink. Some guys chase women. I'm a big barbecue-sauce guy. I'm like that guy on the 'Odd Couple,' and it's not the neat guy. I go into my room and find pieces of pizza under the laundry."

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Trivia time: What do Bill Sharman, Tex Winter, Alex Hannum and Bob Kloppenburg have in common?

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Unlikely coach: "Nobody thought I'd be a great coach," Majerus was quoted as saying by the Reno Gazette-Journal in 1999. "I'm the kind of guy you'd expect to be driving an 18-wheeler through town."

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Choice of residence: Majerus, on why he likes living in a hotel, told the Sporting News in 2000: "There's clean towels, my bed is turned down every night and there's a mint on my pillow, no matter what psychological or emotional crisis the maid is going through."

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A simple life: Asked about his cooking skills, Majerus told the Sporting News: "I microwave nachos. If it can't be done on a grill or in a microwave, I won't do it."

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A new diet: Majerus, because of his heart problems, is eating differently these days.

Earlier this year he told the Chicago Tribune he was eating celery sticks, something he thought he'd never do. "Like I always told Bobby Knight, nothing good happens around a salad bar," he said.

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Kentucky blues: Utah, under Majerus, lost to Kentucky in the 1996 NCAA tournament's round of 16, in the tournament's round of eight in 1997 and in the championship game in 1998.

"When I die, they might as well bury me at the finish line at Churchill Downs so they can run over me again," he told the New Orleans Times-Picayune in 1999.

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More on Kentucky: Before the 1996 game, Kentucky Coach Rick Pitino suggested that Utah should be favored.

Majerus told the Salt Lake Tribune: "If we're getting in a sumo ring, he and I, then he's the underdog. I'll crush him. But on the court, we're in trouble."

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Sage advice: In his new autobiography, Dick Enberg relates some advice Al McGuire once gave Majerus.

"Never marry a beautiful woman," McGuire said, "because a beautiful woman might leave you."

Said Majerus: "An ugly woman might leave me too."

McGuire: "Yeah, but it won't matter."

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Looking back: On this day in 2001, Chick Hearn broadcast his 3,338th consecutive Laker game, a 101-85 victory over Golden State. Hearn had heart surgery three days later and missed the next 56 games.

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Trivia answer: They were USC teammates who became NBA head coaches.

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And finally: Of Majerus' one-liners, Michael Doleac, a former Utah player, said, "We don't hear them very often. In practice, he's not as funny."

Larry Stewart can be reached at larry.stewart@latimes.com.

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