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News Nuggets, 12.16.04
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Pirates hawking hoops tickets with a twist


12.15.04: Bowl season kicks off with Southern Miss victory ... Marshall linebacker suspended for bowl game ... More...
12.14.04: Preview: USM, North Texas kick off bowl season ... Former ECU assistants McFarland, Brindise land jobs ... McLendon to bolt Wolfpack for NFL draft ... More...
12.13.04: Musical chairs at full tilt as coaches change jobs ... List of Division I-A coaching changes ... Heisman Trophy chronology 1935-2004 ... More...
12.12.04: Title game of the Heismans set ... All-time Heisman winners list ... Blue- Gray Classic scratched again ... More...
12.11.04: Job security for SMU coach comes with lofty mandate ... Panel pushing to tie bowl bids to grad rates ... More...
12.10.04: Gamecocks' ol' man "Pops" still in the limelight ... Lou Groza Award winners ... Ray Guy Award winners ... More...
12.09.04: East Carolina releases 2005 baseball schedule ... BCA urges athletes, coaches to shun Gamecocks ... More...
12.08.04: All-Conference USA and C-USA All-Freshman teams ... Petrino waves off suitors to stay at Louisville ... More...
12.07.04: Syracuse chancellor decides to stick with Pasqualoni ... Zook selected to rejuvenate struggling Illini ... More...
12.06.04: C-USA standings, scoreboard, bowl lineup & TV ... BCS rankings, bowl pairings ''' AP football poll ... More...
12.05.04: FLwed BCS produces another messy title picture ... College football weekend: stars & storylines ... More...

Promotions were the word of the day for East Carolina basketball on Wednesday as athletic department officials announced a pair of initiatives involving basketball tickets.

The more immediate promotion is intended to foster good will and good deeds while attracting fans to Minges Coliseum's Williams Arena for the upcoming ECU-Winthrop matchup at a bargain price.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. Friday contest will be offered for $5 per person to public service employees and their families, a discounted price which will also be extended to other fans willing to pony up a pristine toy for the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program.

Each fan wishing to take advantage of the Toys for Tots promotion should present a new, unwrapped toy at the Minges Coliseum ticket window prior to the game, according to the ECU announcement, which noted that one discounted ticket may be purchased per toy presented.

The $5 deal equates to half off the $10 standard published single ticket price for non-conference home games.

The Toys for Tots Campaign, sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, is in its 57th year. Last year, the program helped gather thousands of toys which were distributed to deserving children in counties throughout eastern North Carolina.

ECU's longer term basketball ticket promotion involves a new mini-pack that bundles tickets to five of the Pirates' Conference USA home games.

The Pirate Mini-Pack, priced at $80, includes ECU's home games against Charlotte, Cincinnati, Houston, Marquette and UAB.

“The mini-pack will make a great holiday gift for any Pirate fan and help us create a great atmosphere for those games,” stated Pirate head coach Bill Herrion in ECU's press release about the promotion.

The Pirate Mini-Packs went on sale Wednesday at the ECU Athletic Ticket Office behind Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, are available online at ECU's official athletics website, and may be ordered by phone at 1-800-DIAL-ECU.

The package of tickets will also be on sale during ECU's Friday night game against Winthrop.

Majerus ditches TV gig to rescue Trojans


A sampling of Rick Majerus' humor from Wednesday's news conference introducing him as Southern California's new basketball coach:

``I've had seven bypasses — one for every major food group, and I told people two for the barbecue division. En route to those seven bypasses, I enjoyed every Fuzzy Navel and pizza and Kahlua and cream.'' — speaking of his health problems and hardy appetite.

``I damn near became a Mormon, which is an expensive proposition. You think California state taxes are high, let me tell you, those boys are tithing at 10 percent pre-tax.'' — referring to his 15 seasons coaching at Utah.

``I've got to eat where Jennifer Aniston eats. I got to find these salad places.''

``I'm definitely not going to live in any hotel out here unless Julia Roberts moves into that one hotel and tells me I can be there with her.'' — referring to his living in a hotel in Salt Lake City while coach of the Utes.

``If they want me to go on the horse and throw the spear, I'll do it. The poor horse might not like it.'' — referring to Traveler, USC's equine mascot.

LOS ANGELES — Hide the pizza and doughnuts: Rick Majerus is back coaching college basketball.

Majerus retired nearly a year ago for health reasons after 15 seasons at Utah, but he couldn't stay away from his life's passion. On Wednesday, he took over the program at Southern California, although he won't be on the bench this season.

Majerus signed a multiyear contract and will take over as head coach April 1. However, he'll begin recruiting immediately, filling the assistant's job vacated when Jim Saia was promoted to interim head coach after Bibby's firing.

When Majerus wasn't on camera during his sabbatical analyzing college games for ESPN, he was talking X's and O's with his legion of coaching buddies around the country.

So after USC fired Henry Bibby last week, Majerus happily signed on to revive a program that has languished for years at a school known for its national championship football team. The Trojans also play second fiddle to crosstown rival UCLA's tradition-rich basketball legacy.

``I'm so excited about the possibilities that are here,'' Majerus said at a campus news conference where he interspersed basketball terms with food groups. ``I love Southern California and I won't coach anywhere ever again, I don't think.''

Saia stood at the back of the room Wednesday but he will be running the Trojans this season.

``He's going to let me coach the team,'' Saia said. ``He wants to stay out of the fray. He doesn't want to come to games, he doesn't want to come to practice. I'm sure he'll watch us on TV and evaluate the freshmen and sophomores.''

Famous for a hearty appetite that led to heart bypass surgery in 1989 and forced two other extended leaves from Utah, the 56-year-old Majerus has battled weight problems for years.

``My health is good or I wouldn't do this,'' he said. ``Both my doctors encouraged me to do it. I wouldn't put anyone, least of all myself, in harm's way.''

Majerus was quick to note he's never had a heart attack.

``I've had seven bypasses — one for every major food group, and I told people two for the barbecue division,'' he said, drawing laughter. ``En route to those seven bypasses, I enjoyed every Fuzzy Navel and pizza and Kahlua and cream.''

He briefly got serious, saying, ``Could I have a heart attack? Sure. I could get cancer. I could get hit on one of these freeways.''

Then he turned funny, clearly aware of Los Angeles' emphasis on looking good and being fit.

``I've got to eat where Jennifer Aniston eats,'' he joked. ``I got to find these salad places.''

Majerus swims a mile daily and rides an exercise bike. He plans to hire a cook and buy a house rather than live in a hotel like he did during his tenure in Salt Lake City.

``Working out has never been a problem. My problem is I eat,'' he said.

USC athletic director Mike Garrett said the school carefully checked Majerus' health records and had him meet with its doctors.

``There is no issue here about his health,'' Garrett said, adding he would be satisfied to have Majerus for any amount of time.

``We need someone who can come in here and turn this program around,'' Garrett said.

USC recently began construction on a campus arena that is expected to open in 2006. Currently, the Trojans play in the aging Sports Arena located off campus, which has hurt recruiting.

``I'd come here even if there wasn't a new arena,'' Majerus said. ``It's an add-on.''

Bibby was fired four games into his ninth season. The Trojans are 1-1 since Saia took over. Bibby had a 131-111 record at USC and took the Trojans to three NCAA tournaments.

Saia and Majerus planned to have dinner Wednesday night and discuss a possible role for Saia next season.

``He's got the restaurant picked out,'' Saia said.

Majerus was in the first year of a 5-year deal with ESPN before he resigned. He worked his last game for the network Monday night in Philadelphia, where Wake Forest beat Temple.

He coached Utah to the national championship game in 1998, losing to Kentucky, one of the Utes' 10 NCAA tournament appearances during his tenure. His other coaching stints were at Ball State, Marquette and with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks as an assistant.

Majerus said he's looking forward to joining USC football coach Pete Carroll in the athletic department.

``If he needs a Gilbert Brown-type player on occasion, maybe I'll wander by football practice and plug up the offensive line,'' the portly coach said, referring to the 340-pound former Green Bay defensive tackle.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2004 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:07 PM


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