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New SLU basketball coach says past health problems won't hamper him

Rick Majerus speaks to reporters Monday (UPI photo/Bill Greenblatt)
Rick Majerus speaks to reporters Monday (UPI photo/Bill Greenblatt)

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – Rick Majerus said he does not expect past health problems to interfere with his new job as Saint Louis University's men's basketball coach. Majerus signed a six-year contract with SLU on Friday.

His most recent coaching job was at the University of Utah, but he quit in 2004 because of heart problems. At a news conference Monday, Majerus said his health is good.

"I'm never going to wear a 42 regular," Majerus said. "I swam this morning at the Missouri Athletic Club. I swim every day; I swim one measured mile every day."

Majerus is 59 years old. He had heart bypass surgery in 1989, which forced him to miss most of his first year at Utah. However he later took the team to 10 NCAA tournament appearances over 15 seasons.

The University of Southern California hired Majerus in late 2004, but he quit that job after three days, again citing health concerns.

Majerus replaces Brad Soderberg, who was fired two weeks ago after five seasons as SLU's head coach.

Athletic director Cheryl Levick wanted to keep Soderberg, but she said Biondi wanted a change immediately.

"You all know my recommendation was to keep Brad for another year, and Father listened to that," Levick said. But ultimately it is Father's decision, and he decided it was best to make the move this year."