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Utah's Rick Majerus To Meet With Texas

Utah's Rick Majerus, believed to be a leading candidate to replace Tom Penders as University of Texas basketball coach, will meet with UT officials, according to the Austin American-Statesman's.
The newspaper cited an unnamed person close to the UT selection committee.

The panel met Saturday in Austin to begin the search for Penders' replacement. Penders resigned last week after three weeks of controversy that began when unhappy players met with UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds.

Majerus led the Utes to the championship game of this year's NCAA tournament before falling to Kentucky. Last week, he rejected a seven-figure offer from Arizona State.

Other top candidates on UT's list reportedly include Bob Bender of Washington, Kelvin Sampson of Oklahoma, North Carolina assistant Phil Ford and Rick Barnes of Clemson.

Majerus, 50, makes about $1 million annually at Utah. About half of that comes from a deal with Reebok. The Texas athletic department also is affiliated with Reebok.

Dodds has said UT will not pay its next basketball coach more than the $750,000 made by new football coach Mack Brown. Penders had received $550,000 annually.

Two coaches interested in the job have received strong recommendations.

Former North Carolina coach Dean Smith called Dodds on behalf of Ford, 42. Ex-NBA coach John Lucas also received an endorsement from a prominent UT booster, according to the American-Statesman.

Lucas, who coached the San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers, has expressed interest in coaching at the college level.

Dodds declined to name his top candidates.

"I've got real strong feelings about some coaches I want to talk to," he said. "We have a long list, but I guess you can say in my mind there's a short list where we have a real serious interest."

UT guard DeJuan "Chico" Vazquez, a player adviser to the screening committee, met with the group for about 45 minutes Saturday. Vazquez said he told members that players would like a coach who will continue the same full-court style implemented and endorsed by Penders.

"They wanted to know how we feel -- what kind of style we want and do we want to change the style we have," he said.

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