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ST. LOUIS -- Rick Majerus is back in coaching after a three-year break for health reasons, taking over a Saint Louis team that hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament since 2000.
"I saw this as an opportunity," Majerus said. "I'm looking forward to it. I don't think I forgot how to do it."
The Billikens introduced the 59-year-old Majerus at a news conference Monday, three days after he agreed to a six-year contract. Majerus, who has been an analyst with ESPN the last three years, comes to Saint Louis with a career record of 422-147 with 15 postseason appearances.
Majerus replaces Brad Soderberg, who won 20 games in the last of his five seasons but failed to generate even an NIT bid his last three years. Soderberg, fired April 17, was 80-74 overall.
Majerus coached Utah to the NCAA final in 1998, losing to Kentucky. He stepped down in January 2004 due to health reasons. He accepted the coaching job at Southern California in December 2004, only to change his mind three days later.
Fans and students attending Monday's news conference cheered wildly when Majerus entered the room.
"Today a new chapter in Billiken basketball begins with the hiring of one of the most successful coaches of all time," Saint Louis president Lawrence Biondi said.
Majerus led Utah to 10 NCAA appearances in 15 seasons. He also has coached at Ball State and Marquette, and with the Milwaukee Bucks as an assistant.
Last year, he turned down an offer to become an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets. That decision, in part, was made because he wanted to be closer to his mother in Milwaukee.
Majerus, who has lived in Milwaukee since joining ESPN, has said his health is no longer an issue.
The Billikens have four returning starters, losing only senior center Ian Vouyoukas. Forward Tommie Liddell, who will be a junior, led the team with a 15.4-point average. Saint Louis finished in the middle of the pack in the Atlantic 10 Conference last season.
When Soderberg was fired, the school said the move was tied to the school's new $80.5 million arena under construction, which is about $7.5 million short of its fundraising goa