Former Phoenix Suns great, Dan Majerle, fired at GCU, in strange decision

Dan Majerle, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Dan Majerle, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

Two Phoenix Suns icons made news this week when Jerry Colangelo fired Dan Majerle as head coach at Grand Canyon University, in a strange move.

Former Phoenix Suns legend, Jerry Colangelo, fired another former Phoenix Suns legend, Dan Majerle, as head basketball coach from the Phoenix-based school, Grand Canyon University.

Colangelo, who serves as the school’s Strategic Advisor, said of the move:

"“GCU has become a premier mid-major basketball destination with its resources, facilities, and student and community support. We look forward to the future of the program under the direction of the new head coach.”"

This move seems, at best, premature and at worst, a little crazy on the surface. However, once you dig in a little further, you see it is clearly on the latter end of the spectrum.

When Colangelo first hired Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor member and Valley icon, Dan Majerle, it seemed like a match made in heaven. His clout and basketball wherewithal combined with Colangelo’s resources and desire to make GCU a competitive Division I mid-major program seemed like the perfect match.

For the most part, it was.

Related Story. Phoenix Suns History: The day Dan Majerle is traded. light

Dan Majerle was the Phoenix Suns associate head coach back in 2013 when Colangelo tagged him to lead the ‘Lopes in their first season in NCAA Division I. After just four years of finishing in the top 3, GCU became eligible for the NCAA tournament, and expectations were high.

In the following three seasons, however, GCU finished 3rd, 3rd, and 5th, respectively with a combined record of 53-43 and Thunder Dan got the boot.

For a school like the University of Kentucky, this type of quick trigger after two mediocre and one bad season seems logical. However, for a school that has only been in Division I for seven years and only been tournament eligible for three, this move reeks of un-self-aware egotism.

The most peculiar rationale behind all of this, however, is what John Gambadoro reported:

While it is true there has been a tremendous commitment made to the program (my understanding is they charter flights), expecting to be the next Gonzaga just three years into NCAA tournament eligibility is about as realistic as me becoming the Phoenix Suns backup point guard next season.

So, who’s next? Who will take his place? Right now, of all people, Rick Pitino has been floating around as a possible target.

Yes, that Rick Pitino. The man who was fired from the University of Louisville when news came out his recruits and players were treated to strippers and call girls paid for by an assistant coach. These incidents also led to Louisville being the only school in NCAA history to have their NCAA title vacated.

This is also the same man who, while still coach at U of L, had an affair with a woman in an Italian restaurant, paid for her, uh, “health insurance,” and then was subsequently blackmailed by him.

Next. If the Suns season is over, what did we learn?. dark

That kind of resume doesn’t seem like it would be a great mesh with a Christian University, but when it comes to winning basketball games, programs have been known to yadda-yadda passed a few details.

Best of luck to Thunder Dan in the future. This strange week in basketball rolls on.