Pearl lifted the hearts of Iowa fans on Tuesday, if only for 15 minutes, when it was reported that Iowa had asked for and received permission to speak with Pearl. Just a few minutes later, Pearl said he was staying in Tennessee.
On Friday, Rick Majerus stole the spotlight, and seemingly every person in Hawkeye Nation had a source that was telling them that Rick was the man, that Rick was going to set up residence in Iowa City, that the announcement would come over the weekend at the Final Four and that Rick was going to throw a big cookout in Iowa City and bring 100,000 bratwurst with him.
I am not even joking on the last bit; someone told me that on Friday.
And that might be the most true report of them all.
On Friday night, KGAN-2 in Eastern Iowa reported on its website and newscast that the Iowa pep band was told to be on ‘standby' this weekend in the event of a pep rally, and that the intramural basketball championships set for Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday evening might have to be moved to the Rec Center.
They also reported that Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta was to meet with Majerus in Atlanta at the Final Four.
I can say for a fact that Majerus is indeed in Atlanta as of Friday night. Whether or not he spoke with Barta, I cannot say.
I can also say that if Majerus is Iowa's next coach, then the majority of the Hawkeye fan base will be happy with that decision.
And talk about your contrasts; professionally coifed Steve Alford to the ‘follicly challenged' Rick Majerus. There were those rumors that circulated around Iowa City about Steve Alford and free stuff; the Iowa City Press Citizen is reporting that the local food chain Panchero's is already offering Majerus free burritos for life if he is named the next head coach. I am not joking, here's the link: CLICK.
When I allowed my mind to wander on Majerus on Friday, I kept coming back to two images; Hayden Fry and Lute Olson; the Iowa coaches of my youth.
Those two were larger than life when I was growing up and cutting my teeth on Hawkeye athletics, and Majerus seems out of that mold, too.
The man can deliver some pretty darn good one liners, though he probably isn't the public story teller that Fry was. Lute Olson probably was and is better kept than Majerus is, but both men can coach.
More than one Iowa fan has noticed and commented about the kind to Iowa remarks Majerus has made when he calls an Iowa game for ESPN. In fact, he might be the most pro-Iowa color commentator that exists, outside of former Hawkeye Mac McCausland.
Of course, he never could quite say ‘HA-LOOSKA' correctly, but if Barta hires him, we won't hold that against him.
What Majerus clearly appreciated about Iowa basketball was the lunch pail aspects of Hawkeye state stars like Greg Brunner, Jeff Horner and the aforementioned Adam Haluska. He fawned over them with his analysis.
Of course, those players are gone now, and if Majerus becomes Iowa's next head coach, he would arrive in Iowa City without a native Iowan on the roster next year as far as recruited scholarship players go, and with very few coming down the pipelines in the near future, save Matt Gatens and L.A. Pomlee.
Majerus would likely bring some international flavor to Iowa City, opening doors that have not been opened by foreign basketball players before; he did that at Utah. International students have flourished at Iowa for a long time.
As for all the Majerus reports, I am beginning to think that they are becoming just a little bit inbred. What do I mean by that?
I think someone says something strongly and ‘matter of factly' to a co-worker, swearing that what he heard was solid but that he just can't reveal the source, and then that gets passed on to someone else, and something gets added to it, and before you know it, everyone has a source and its really just a part of the original story.
We'll see if this weekend yields anything on the coaching search front. If it does, we'll report it as we do with all of the breaking Iowa news.
But if the Majerus bubble bursts, most people will be back at square one, wondering whom to zero in on next…and you won't be alone, because Gary Barta is doing a great job at sticking to one of the statements he gave last week; this search is being conducted privately and quietly.
Too quiet, for some, on this Midwestern front.