GCU’s Dan Majerle explains his stance on declining Suns’ initial interest
The Phoenix Suns are in the very early stages of a coaching search.
General manager Ryan McDonough can already scratch one name off his list.
Grand Canyon head coach Dan Majerle, a Suns Ring of Honor member and one of the most popular players in franchise history, won’t be roaming NBA sidelines next year. Our own John Gambadoro reported Thursday that McDonough had reached out to Majerle to gauge his interest in the opening, but he declined.
Majerle joined Doug & Wolf Friday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station to expand on what transpired when McDonough called.
“To be honest, I said ‘OK, can I think about it for a day or so?’ He said ‘yes’ and so I thought about it and had a conversation with Mr. (Jerry) Colangelo and kind of asked him,” Majerle said. “I knew what my answer was going to be, but I just wanted to hear what Mr. Colangelo had to say and kind of bounce it off him.”
Majerle, who is heading into his sixth season at GCU, made it clear Colangelo gave his blessing to talk to the Suns if that’s what the coach wanted to do.
“He said ‘you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. If that’s something you want to do, then do it,'” he said. “I called Ryan back and said ‘I know what kind of opportunity this could be for me. The Phoenix Suns would be a great job. I love the organization and I’ll always be a Sun at heart. I appreciate it, but I haven’t done what I want to do at GCU.’
“President (Brian) Mueller has been great to me and gave me a chance to be a head coach. I’ve helped build this program from day one and we’re making great strides in the five years that I’ve been here. I just feel at this time, I haven’t done what I’m supposed to do yet.”
GCU is coming off a solid 2017-18 season. The ‘Lopes finished third in the Western Athletic Conference in the regular season and advanced to the WAC Tournament Championship Game before losing to New Mexico State. A win would have sent GCU to the NCAA Tournament in the school’s first year of eligibility.
“I’ve told recruits I’m not leaving,” Majerle said. “I have a job to do and I really love my job at GCU. I’ve said this to you guys before, that I honestly believe it’s the best job in college basketball. I have a great staff to work with. President Mueller and his team, the whole university.
“I have no desire to leave there.”
So the Suns will look elsewhere for candidates to lead their young roster into the future. McDonough has said much of the discussion with candidates will occur outside of the media’s attention.
“I think it’ll be more private,” McDonough told Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station Wednesday. “Some of the reasons for that are, for example, anybody who’s currently with an NBA team, we need to get permission from the team and also, if one of those guys is on the 16 teams playing in the playoffs, we need to figure out the timing of that and the scheduling of that.”