YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Utah's Majerus to Resign for Health Reasons

Coach will step down at the end of the season after being hospitalized for chest pains.

January 29, 2004|From Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah basketball Coach Rick Majerus will resign at the end of the season after his latest health problem put him in the hospital because of chest pains.

Majerus, 55, was released from a hospital in Santa Barbara on Wednesday night. Spokeswoman Janet O'Neill would not release further information about his condition.

Assistant Kerry Rupp will coach the Utes in the interim, though Majerus could return and finish out the season if his health allows. Rupp will guide the team Saturday against Brigham Young.

"He just said he had some health issues," Rupp said. "Your health has to come first and foremost, and he has said that to our players many a time."

Majerus was considering retiring before the season but ended up turning down several lucrative television offers because of his commitment to several players, particularly senior guard Nick Jacobson.

The health of the portly Majerus has always been a concern, especially after he had heart bypass surgery in 1989 -- only six games into his first season at Utah. Since then, he has led the Utes to the NCAA tournament 10 times.

"Everybody that knows Rick and cares about Rick has mentioned that he needs to take care of himself," Utah Athletic Director Chris Hill said.

"I think coaches' lives in general are stressful. I think every year is stressful because of the pressure they put on themselves. I think they're all very, very intense and maybe Rick is maybe on the high end of intense."

Majerus felt chest pains late Tuesday in Salt Lake City. He was flown to Santa Barbara for treatment by his cardiologist.

Rupp and his fellow assistants heard about Majerus early Wednesday. Ute players learned of the situation at a team meeting Wednesday morning.

"We were shocked, of course, but he would want us to move on," Jacobson said. "What are we supposed to do? Just play on."

Former Utah star Keith Van Horn predicted Majerus wouldn't wander too far from basketball.

"I'm sure he'll stay around the game, maybe just not deal with practices and games for a little while," said Van Horn, now with the New York Knicks. "It will be good for his well-being. But I know he'll stay in the game in some fashion."

Los Angeles Times Articles