Rick Majerus seems determined to run the SLU basketball program into total obscurity. He has banned reporters from covering team practices and interviewing players. Does this make sense to anyone? Didn't they just build a beautiful new arena on campus with the purpose of attracting larger crowds to Billiken games, and generating increased revenue for the school? Exactly how does a media blackout fit into the marketing plan? Does he have something to hide?
Brad Soderberg, Lorenzo Romar, Charlie Spoonhour and Rick Grawer all ran similar programs. They were open and honest with fans and media. They were highly visible in the community, and succeeded in making Billiken basketball a popular part of the St. Louis sports landscape. Players like Kevin Lisch, Tommy Liddell, Irwin Claggett, Scott Highmark, H Waldmen and Anthony Bonner (to name just a few) became household names in St. Louis. Those coaches allowed, and even encouraged, their players to enjoy the spotlight and their time in a Billiken uniform. The media's coverage of Billiken basketball has been overwhelmingly positive thru the years. Now, there is very little coverage of Billiken hoops at all. Rick Majerus won't allow it. Who benefits from this approach?
When Majerus was hired three years ago,and Brad Soderberg unceremoniously fired, we were told that Majerus was the guy who could lead the Billikens to the "next level" of college basketball. He would recruit teams to fill the new arena, and be a regular contender for a spot in the NCAA tournament. Since he's been here the program has actually been in decline, barely .500 in his two seasons (34-29). When the Bills begin to play this year's schedule you'll likely see very little coverage of the team on local TV and radio. Maybe nobody will care. The Billikens have a small, but loyal, core of fans who will follow the team regardless. It just seems strange, and a little sad, that their coach has taken such extreme measures to insure the public doesn't get to know his players. It's hard to get too excited about a team whose players are largely anonymous to the fans. Does Majerus have something to hide?