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Floyd Looks Like a Keeper for Trojans

Former Iowa State, NBA coach agrees to take USC basketball post 31/2 weeks after Majerus, on the job only five days, changed his mind and resigned.

January 14, 2005|Paul Gutierrez | Times Staff Writer

Tim Floyd, former coach at Iowa State and in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Hornets, has agreed to take over at USC and will be introduced at a news conference today at Heritage Hall.

Floyd, 50, will oversee the Trojans, who are on a trip in Arizona, in an advisory/recruiting role and will not take over full time until April 1, which is the weekend of the Final Four in St. Louis. He will take over from interim Coach Jim Saia, who replaced the fired Henry Bibby on Dec. 6 and has gone 5-7 since, including 0-5 in Pacific 10 Conference play.

Rick Majerus, the former Utah coach, was hired to replace Saia on Dec. 15 -- effective April 1 -- but had second thoughts and resigned five days later.

Details of Floyd's contract were not immediately known. Majerus was scheduled to earn $5 million over five years.

"I'm happy that there's closure to it," Saia said. "He's a great coach, a great tactician ... a phenomenal coach and he's experienced. He's a great hire. Anything I can do to help Coach Floyd out ... I'll be happy to do everything I can."

The coaching search had been handled by Daryl Gross, USC's senior associate athletic director, who is leaving to take the athletic director's job at Syracuse. When asked where the situation stood Thursday afternoon, USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett said, "I would not like to comment regarding this coaching search right now. But everything is going as planned."

The same cannot be said of the Trojans' season, however; they have lost six of their last seven games, including Thursday night's 77-68 loss at Arizona.

As for the players, they'll believe they have a new coach when they see it, apparently.

"How are we feeling about it? The same way with Coach Majerus. We don't know if he's going to stay or not," freshman swingman Nick Young said. "Coaches just come in and out. It was cool with Coach Saia.

"Coach Majerus came and then he left. The last time, Majerus came and talked to us and the next day he was gone."

At most, Floyd will have four returnees next season -- Young, freshman point guard Gabe Pruitt, sophomore guard Lodrick Stewart and junior point guard Dwayne Shackleford.

USC has also received commitments from high school seniors Sead Odzic, a shooting guard, and Mike Freeman, a small forward.

The Trojans will be woefully thin up front.

USC had initially hoped to introduce Floyd on Dec. 20, the day Majerus announced his resignation, but the school wanted Floyd -- who had been working out a financial settlement with his previous employers, the Hornets -- to be introduced without a contract.

Fired in May by the Hornets after a 41-41 season, Floyd was scheduled to make close to $2 million a year for the next two years as part of his buyout.

His last two jobs have been in the NBA -- before New Orleans he was with the Chicago Bulls, where he was 49-190 in three-plus seasons -- but his greatest success has been in college, with a winning percentage of .651 (243-130) in 12 years at Idaho, New Orleans and Iowa State.

Floyd, known as a defensive coach, was 81-47 in four seasons at Iowa State (1994-98). He took the Cyclones to three NCAA tournaments, reaching the Sweet 16 in 1997, when they fell to UCLA in overtime. He also became the first coach in school history to win at least 20 games for three seasons in a row. He was 12-18 in his last season at the school.

Before being hired by the Hornets, Floyd passed on the coaching job at Clemson, and on an assistant's position with the NBA's San Antonio Spurs.

Staff writers Jason Reid and Lonnie White contributed to this report. Reid reported from Tucson, White from Los Angeles.

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