WICHITA, Kan. -- Gregg Marshall has been named the 25th head men’s basketball coach at Wichita State University, WSU Director of Athletics Jim Schaus announced today.
Marshall comes to WSU after completing his ninth year at the Winthrop helm, as he led the Eagles to their finest year with a third-straight Big South Conference championship, a seventh NCAA appearance in the past nine seasons and the first win in the NCAA tournament.
Marshall was the Collegehoops.net 2007 Mid-Major Coach of the Year. He also received the Collegeinsider.com Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year Award.
In 2006-07, Winthrop finished 29-5 and was the first team in Big South history to go undefeated during the season as the Eagles went 14-0 in regular season play, and swept the tournament in three games. With the 29 victories, Marshall became the all-time winningest coach in Big South history surpassing former Radford head coach Ron Bradley who compiled 192 wins in 11 years. Marshall’s career record now stands at 194-83.
In addition to the two National Mid-Major Coach of the Year awards, Marshall was also voted the 2007 Big South Conference Coach of the Year marking the fourth time he has received the award (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007).
Under Marshall’s leadership, Winthrop has had six 20-win seasons and has averaged more than 20 victories per year. He has led the Winthrop Eagles to seven NCAA tournament appearances during his nine seasons, including four consecutive trips during his first four years at the helm.
His 2006-07 team established new Big South Conference and school records for victories with the 29-5 record. The 2005-06 team compiled a 23-7 record and came within a basket of capturing its first victory in the NCAA tournament.?
During the 2005-06 season, Marshall became the winningest coach in Winthrop men’s basketball history, passing Nield Gordon’s mark of 161.?
In his first year as the head coach after being named head coach in April of 1998 at Winthrop he led the Eagles to a 21-8 record, their first-ever Big South Conference regular season championship, the conference tournament title and the school’s first trip to the NCAA tournament. Winthrop’s improvement of 14 victories over the 1997-98 year was one of the biggest turnarounds for NCAA Division I programs.
He led the Eagles to another Big South tournament title in 2000 and a second trip to the Big Dance, and then made it a three-peat in 2001 as Winthrop won the conference title in exciting fashion and advanced to the first-ever opening round game in NCAA tournament history.
His 2001-02 team overcame a series of injuries to win a fourth straight conference title and earned the right to face top-ranked Duke in the NCAA tournament.?
In 1999-2000, the Eagles won it all again as they finished second in the regular season and then captured the Big South tournament to earn the automatic bid to the NCAA tourney.
Winthrop received a No. 14 seed, the highest ever by a Big South Conference member, as the Eagles faced Oklahoma in the West Region at Tucson, AZ. Sports Illustrated ‘s NCAA preview even picked the Eagles to defeat the Sooners, but that didn’t happen.
Winthrop finished the year with a 21-9 record to give Marshall a 42-17 head coaching mark after two years.?
His third year was probably his best in terms of coaching skills as Winthrop was hit hard by the injury bug, but still managed to compile an 18-13 record and its third straight Big South title and trip to the Big Dance.
During the two years leading up to his arrival at Winthrop, Marshall served as an assistant coach at Marshall University where he helped guide the Thundering Herd to the 1997 Southern Conference championship and before that was an assistant on John Kresse’s staff at the College of Charleston for eight years from 1988-1996 when the Cougars made the most successful transition ever from NAIA to NCAA Division I.
During Marshall’s years there, the Cougars received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament in 1994 and consecutive NIT invitations in 1995 and 1996.?
While at Marshall, he recruited 1998 Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year Travis Young along with MAC All-Freshman team member Joda Burgess. The 1997 recruiting class at Marshall was ranked by ESPN as the best in the MAC and among the Top 40 in the nation.
During his tenure at the College of Charleston, Marshall was instrumental in the recruitment of NBA-caliber student-athletes from the state of South Carolina that include Anthony Johnson, a current member of the Indiana Pacers, Marion Busby and Thaddeous Delaney. All three players were voted Trans-America Athletic Conference Players of the Year.?
Prior to joining Kresse’s staff in Charleston, Marshall spent one year as an assistant at Belmont Abbey College (1987-88), and two years as an assistant at his alma mater at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA, (1985-1987). In 13 years as an assistant coach, the schools that Marshall was associated with compiled a record of 268-129 for a success rate of 68 percent.?
Marshall received a B.A. degree in economics/business in 1985 from Randolph-Macon and earned the Master’s degree in Sport Management from the University of Richmond in 1987. He is married to the former Lynn Munday of Bellingham, Washington, who earned her master’s degree from the College of Charleston. They are the parents of a son, Kellen, and a daughter, Maggie.
Marshall inherits a Wichita State team that has been in postseason play four-of-the last five years, including the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2005-06 when it went 26-9. WSU was 17-14 in 2006-07.
--Wichita State University--
Quotes from Press Conference
“We talked earlier this week that Shocker basketball is a great story, a great year with great players, and just a great tradition. Many wonderful chapters have been written and now it is time to write a new chapter with a new author. I could not be happier and more excited to announce today to you our new head men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall from Winthrop University.”
On Gregg Marshall...
“I just want to briefly state that when you get the opportunity to meet an individual in an interview process you get to know them even further and I admire Gregg’s tremendous success which includes seven NCAA tournament appearances in nine years, he has had six 21 winning seasons and this year he in two different entities he has also been named mid-major coach-of-the-year.”
On the future of WSU basketball...
“We talked earlier about Shocker excellence, about becoming a national level program. That is our vision. Today we hire a national level coach. We hire a coach that is nationally regarded around the country and I am going to tell you that it is going to take some time. We need to be patient and we are trying to keep some of our recruits, we are going to be recruiting some new people but I can also tell you that excellence is not just about one season. It is about building a program and we are so excited about Gregg and his family. And when you get a chance to meet Gregg and his family you see a lot of great things. I have learned a lot more about Gregg as a basketball coach and as a person and I cannot tell you how great of a coach and person WSU is getting, along with his family. I couldn’t be more ecstatic about the future of Shocker basketball and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Donald Beggs and his wife Shirley for their support and assistance in this process. We have the best president in the country. His leadership over this University and the athletic programs is always helpful. With out further ado I would like to introduce this years head men’s basketball coach, and for many, many years to come, Gregg Marshall.
It’s a very exciting day for me. It’s a very exciting day for my family. I’ve known Mark Turgeon for some time. He was actually a coach in our region before coming to Wichita State at Jacksonville State. I actually knew him as a graduate assistant at Kansas. We met at the Final Four in 1988. I know what he has done here. I know what you guys, led by Jim Schaus, have done with this athletic department and this facility. I have been given a whirlwind tour in one of the worst weather conditions that you could possibly imagine. We did it all with a smile on our face. We felt very welcome here from Dr. Beggs and Shirley welcoming us into their home and all of the people we have encountered in the last 24 hours have just been tremendous. I feel a very, very proud sense to be the coach at this fine institution with this fine basketball program. The history that you have here is something that I am very aware of. The support and how much Shocker basketball means to you and to this community and this state is something I’m very, very aware of. And I’m very cognizant of the fact that we’re not done with the growth that has been started in the last several years, but we can actually aspire to even bigger heights. I’m excited. I cant explain how much it feels to have Jim really show me that he wanted me as his coach and he’s been very, very supportive of my time and my family because it’s a family decision for me. To uproot and to come to the Midwest, but the values that you people have and the quality of life here, this wonderful city that we have toured in that snowstorm yesterday is something that we are very much ready to become deeply engrained into. We’re just very proud and thankful.
On choosing Wichita State...
Don’t believe everything you read and hear. A lot of times my name pops up simply because we have had some success. I’ve had some great players and a wonderful staff back in Rock Hill at Winthrop University. That is natural that if a job opening comes open, that my name pops up. I can tell you that there has only been a handful in nine years that I have really been involved in; three of those were this spring.
At Winthrop, 29 wins this year. We had a 19-game win streak going into the tournament with two guys that are potential NBA players and were still only allowed to get an No. 11 seed in the tournament. We finally got over that hump and one our first game and had a chance to go to the Sweet Sixteen. I thought to myself what more can we do? How far can we take this program? I remember two years ago being in the same regional as Wichita State. It’s amazing how fate intervenes. I was in this regional in Greensboro and I actually watched you guys and watched the win against Seton Hall and finally we lost on that crazy shot by Lofton from Tennessee. Hopefully this is not played back in Tennessee, but the next day I was devastated. A couple of my buddies called and said, “Hey, you’re going to go play golf with us.” It was that Sunday that you guys were playing Tennessee. I said OK, but I had to make one phone call. Somehow, I ran Mark Turgeon down in all of his preparation and actually gave him one small tidbit of information that I thought would help him versus Tennessee because I wanted to see you guys win. He thanked me later, but it was a great win. But I saw the fan support, I saw the energy. I saw a great group of guys and I know several of them are back for at least one more year from that team. I know the tradition you have established here. Jim made it clear to me that early on; he wanted me as the coach. It wasn’t as much of an interview process as it was a getting to know each other and making sure it was a fit.
On Marshall’s style of basketball...
You’re going to get nothing but tremendous energy, passion and hard work from my staff, my team and myself. We will play hard or we will not be playing. You’ll be watching more than you’re playing if you aren’t prepared to give it your all. We’re going to defend. We’re going to mix up defenses. We’re going to sometimes pressure full-court, sometimes pull back to three-quarter court and sometimes just play slap the floor, half-court defense. We’ll play a mixture of zone and man-to-man. We’re going to let our defense create some scoring opportunities and if not, we’re going to run some set plays that have been very beneficial to us and steal a couple of baskets here and there. If that doesn’t work, we’ll go into a motion offense. Against zones, you do a little bit different attack and we’ll be prepared. Preparation will not be a problem. Hard work will not be a problem. Playing with passion and intensity will not be a problem. I can’t guarantee that every shot is going to go in and I can’t guarantee that we will win every night. But you will get an honest effort and you will get something that you will be proud of on the that court night in and night out.
On choosing to not go back to Rock Hill before announcing his new position...
That has been the most difficult thing because nine years of blood, sweat and tears. I talked to the [Wichita State] team yesterday and I think I was quoted in the paper as saying that. And that’s what we put into that program for nine years. We took it a long way and I had some wonderful players, guys that have NBA shots at Winthrop University. I worked with just a tremendous staff. I had the same president and the same AD for nine years. They allowed me to make some mistakes and grow as a head coach. They were supportive and I can’t tell you how important that is. My family and I, it wasn’t just my decision, it was my family’s decision to make the break. We’ve had some pretty touch phone conversations this morning with people that we care deeply about. True friends, you don’t lose them. They’ll be coming out and visiting. They’ll be at Shocker games. Those of you who travel, and I suggest you do, next year, for the opening games at Paradise Jam, interestingly enough, the Winthrop faithful will be there, and you’ll meet a lot of my dear friends. And hopefully I can introduce them to a lot of my new dear friends.
On when he decided to come to Wichita State...
This morning. We slept on it last night. Jim’s been great in terms of allowing us our time and our space. My wife and I discussed it. It’s a matter of coming here now and finding the right situation for my family, in terms of living arrangements, where we can be happy, the schools and we understand that all of that is just excellent. There is not a lot on the market right now, but hopefully when the school year ends and we’re ready to move, more homes will be on the market and we’re on the lookout. I understand the schools are excellent and that is something that is very, very important to us as we have Kellen who is in the fourth grade and Maggie who is in the first grade. We want to see them finish school here in Wichita.
On the strength of the Missouri Valley Conference being a strength in the decision to come to WSU...
I think so. Two years ago, you had four teams in the NCAA Tournament; two in the Sweet Sixteen. We thought that we had the opportunity to be an at-large team had we lost in our championship game, but in the Big South that had never happened. So we didn’t want to tempt fate and lose a game in our tournament just to see if we could get an at-large. We went ahead and ran the tables and got that No. 11 seed, but I tell you what, winning in the NCAA Tournament is a lot about match ups, but it’s more about seeding. It’s not a lot of fun to be a 14, 15, 16 seed, even though the past two years we had great opportunities to win as a 14, 15 seed. The 11 seed gives you a much more winnable game like a four seed like Southern Illinois got or a single-digit seed like Creighton. I don’t know what your seeding was against Seton Hall last year, but from my goggles, and I have a pretty good perspective of college basketball, I thought you were the better team, so I hope you were the single-digit seed.
I’m going to bring at least one of my coaches for sure. That will leave two or three openings. I have recruited this area. In fact, one of the commitments that I cannot talk about right now, I’m going to be going there this week and I’ve already recruited a player from there. It is in Texas, but I can’t mention his name.
Recruiting is about developing relationships. It’s about knowing people and I’ve been doing this now for 22 years so I’ve got a network of people out there that I know and trust. I’ve got people knocking my door down to be assistant coaches who have ties to this area and the great junior college basketball here, to Texas, to Oklahoma, to Kansas City so we’re going to find the best possible staff that we can and we’re going to make sure that we recruit nationally, internationally, out of the army, it doesn’t matter. If they can play and want to come get an education, then we will leave no stone unturned.
On the current status of recruiting at Wichita State...
You have four signees early. There are still a couple of guys that would like to come and maybe waivering a little bit to a degree at this point. It’s my intent to go meet with them. This is a full-contact period, starting on Friday up until the 30th of April. If you see me, it will be in a flash for the next several of weeks. It will be in and out, working with the players, trying to establish relationships with those guys and finding out exactly what we have coming back and what we need going forward. There obviously is a need for some post players and in the last two years, you have graduated two pretty good ones. And that is the hardest thing to get to be able to compete right away. We’re also recruiting post players at Winthrop and I’m not going to get into comparisons such as if my guys could play here and all that, but we’re in the same pool, fishing for the same fish. We’re just going to go out and give it our best and see what we can land by going forward this coming year and then work on 2007-08.
On having any post players on his radar...
There are several that have a strong interest and perhaps have already visited here. There are others that have not visited here that we are aware of and can start moving now from recruiting them at Winthrop to recruiting them at Wichita State.
On the terms of Marshall’s contract...
Jim Schaus: We, in a short time frame like this, aren’t able to finalize an actual contract, but we have an agreement in principle for a seven-year agreement for $750,000 plus performance incentives. The details of those are being finalized.
On meeting with the WSU players...
I met with them yesterday. I felt really good about the meeting. They are nice, respectful young men. Not a whole lot of questions. They listened, by and large, and then what I like more than anything that after they got done with our brief meeting, they were in the weight room and from there, they went to the beautiful practice gymnasium and started doing a workout. That’s a Friday afternoon. Of course, they wouldn’t have been out playing golf yesterday. But that’s what they did. It’s great to see on a Friday, them being out working on their games.
I know this is Midwest and I think at one point, Dr. Beggs told me that the railroad stopped in Wichita at one point, so this was as far west as the railroad went. This guy to my left (Jim Schaus), he’s like Quick Draw McGraw. He loses a coach and obtains a coach within a week, so those players have not lacked leadership for very long. This is a very quick process and I think that we can really get going quickly and work with those guys. They can’t be that badly out of shape in six days.
On having talked with his Winthrop players...
I called as many as I could today when we finally made the decision to be official. I talked to my assistant coaches. I did leave several voice messages and did talk to several players. I have called a meeting for 9 p.m. so we can do it face-to-face. That’s always the toughest thing. For my family, leaving their school and their friends, for my wife, and her acquaintances and friends. For me, it’s going to be leaving my players. That’s just a tough thing. I’ve never done it. I’ve never done it for more than one day. I did it last summer for one day, but you don’t have to worry about that.
On his assistants making the move to Wichita...
One of my assistants has been here ten or 15 years ago; I’m not sure how long ago. One or two of those guys might be going after the head-coaching job at Winthrop and I think deserve it. So I’m not really going to get into that. I do know that one of them has agreed to come and then maybe one more. But that’s going to leave several spots open. And again, I need to get some guys that have more strengths in this area. Coaching for me is surrounding yourself with other success-driven people, players and coaches. It’s also picking out people that are perhaps strong in an area that someone else may be weak. If I haven’t recruited the Midwest, which I have been to Hutch, to Texas, but it’s not something I do annually. As players, you have to emphasize player’s strengths. You have to somewhat mask their deficiencies. I don’t think that just because I’m hired now, we’re going to start recruiting McDonald’s All-Americans here. I’d love to think that we can get one one day, but that’s not the top 10-15 players in the country. Sometimes, I don’t even know those players are. So we’re going to get a player that may have to be developed. He may have some sort of weakness in his game, but that’s my job; to find out how to get him on the floor and mask that deficiency.
On his certainty of taking this position...
It was a very natural process that flowed and due in part to Jim and how he handled it. He let me know very, very quickly in our initial conversation that if I were interested, that he would like for me to be the coach. It started from there and then it was, “Would you come take a look?” And from there, we came and looked, and then it was, “Would you like to stay?” It basically evolved in that way. It was never pushy. He handled it like the pro that he is and it was just a very gradual, natural process. The first conversation we had was on Tuesday or Wednesday.
On if Marshall was Schaus’s first choice...
Schaus: Yes. I will say that there were a number of very talented candidates. There were a number of people in a search that would always make a good fit for any program. I don’t believe that there is anybody more talented and a better fit for Wichita State than Gregg Marshall. We could search for weeks, months, and years and not find someone with this talent, this caliber, somebody that fits what we need to take this program and build it. We need someone with his skill, his passion, and his energy, to be able to take this program to the highest level of excellence; to become a national-level program. That’s not for everybody. There are a lot of coaches that have talent. There are a lot of coaches that can recruit. I think our fans are going to love his style of play, if you’ve watched. You talk about kids that get after it, all over the court, offense and defense, our fans love basketball like that. They play with their heart. I think Gregg is a tremendously high polished professional coach. I think he’ll be great with our community. You’re going to love his family. He’ll be tremendous with the media, the people on our campus, people who have been a part of Wichita State University. I think he’ll be a tremendous ambassador for Shocker athletics and for our institution. I love the way he coaches and his persona. We had a number of individuals. When you look at the person who really has the type of items that really provide that great fit, I’m beaming, I’m elated. I told Gregg that when we picked him up at the hotel today that the sun is out and that had a lot to do with his making that decision to come to Wichita State. We’re so happy to have him and Lynn and the entire family involved. It’s going to be a wonderful, wonderful, long, long chapter. I wouldn’t mind adding books to the bookcase for this one. We’re very, very thankful and blessed to have him.
On what Marshall looks forward to most next season at his first home game...
I have only seen pictures; I have never been here for a home game. I’m really looking forward to walking out of that tunnel and feeling the electricity. It’s got to be electric up in those stands. I really believe it is a good fit because I have a lot of energy and I know there is a lot of energy in those seats. I think it’s a great match. It’s going to be very, very difficult to win in this building. We’ve always protected our home court fairly well at Winthrop and that is something that we can continue because of the support and because of the players; we’re going to get after it. I’m ready for the first individual workout, whenever I can schedule it next week. I’m ready for that first practice that Friday evening closest to October 15. Because it’s like right now, I’m a kid at Christmas and I want to see what kind of presents are under the tree.
On being fairly sold on the idea of coming to WSU...
I came out here with an open mind. I wasn’t going to waste Jim’s time. I wasn’t coming out here if I wasn’t strongly considering being the coach. It just had to feel right. It felt right. I’ve been promised 270 days of sunshine a year in Kansas. I feel like there are only 94 more days in this calendar year, since we didn’t see any sun at all yesterday. We trudged through and met some wonderful people and we saw downtown. We were constantly on the go. Sometimes you could see out the window and sometimes not. It was a great day and everyone we met was so excited about Shocker basketball and about the university. Dr. Beggs and Shirley were so genuine and so nice and you could tell that their heart is here and I asked him and he said he plans to retire here, but not for a while. We’re going to hopefully have this group together for many years to come.
On consulting with any mentors, coaches before taking this position...
I really didn’t. To be honest with you, this spring has been very difficult for my family and me. It’s really odd because you have some success and all of a sudden, that breeds people coming after you to be their coach. I’ve been very involved now in three coaching situations. One I didn’t take, one that I would’ve taken and now, this one. But there were others. So it’s been a very exhausting process to be honest with you. There have been a lot of sleepless nights. I really feel like tonight I will sleep very, very well.
Schaus: In a way, it was a positive to see Gregg while at the NCAA Tournament last year in Greensboro. I certainly have followed Gregg’s success and have loved the way that his teams have played. It was easy to see the coach that has developed a program. It’s something that I always keep an eye on and how you could be given or maybe have less resources or opportunities than some programs and have high, high levels of success. I have a lot of respect for the Winthrop athletic department. I think they have a very strong AD. They are excellent in sports. A lot of us went to the Tennessee regional and they beat us, beat Mike Pelfrey in the first game. They’ve had a great, great athletic history, but at the same time, for Winthrop to have that type of success – seven NCAA Tournament appearances, obviously they had the great win over Notre Dame – but when we were there two years ago, I had a chance to watch his team face-to-face, sneaking to watch the practices out of the corner of my eye. I just loved how his teams played. I had a chance to talk to Gregg and meet him and visit with him a little bit. And since that time, Gregg and I have talked a few other times and so yeah, I really believe that the Lord’s got a plan and I just think it was meant to be and I just really feel that although it’s always going to be a transition for him and his family when you’ve lived in a place for awhile and you come to a new place. I just think that Wichita, as we all know, is a wonderful place to raise a family. It will be a great home and a great place for Gregg’s family. I just think that Wichita will embrace the Marshall’s and I’m so excited about the future. It’s going to be many, many years to come of just tremendous Shocker basketball and I’ve told you before, be patient. This is a transition time and I know that no one can do a better job of recruiting than this guy and build relationships. He has a national reputation, but there are some challenges with recruiting and trying to address a few things that had to be addressed before this coaching change was even made. There were some areas that we had to work at and get better at. Things that would have been challenges for the team next year, anyway, so I think that be patient and we’re going to do the best we can to address those things for the upcoming year. Again, it’s not about one season; it’s about the program for years to come. I just couldn’t be happier, I know you can tell. Gregg is the right man for the job and you too will see that very soon.