Now in his eighth season at Wichita State, Gregg Marshall has ascended as one of college basketball’s elite head coaches, earning consensus National Coach of the Year honors in 2013-14 after leading the Shockers to a school-record 35 wins and a No. 2 national ranking in both major polls. Over the past four seasons, WSU has won at a higher rate than any other program in Division I with an .834 winning percentage.
Under Marshall’s guidance, the Shockers have been on a steady rise, reaching the 30-win mark in each of the last two seasons. WSU advanced to the Final Four in 2013 and followed it up with a record-breaking 2013-14 campaign that included an unbeaten regular season – the first by an NCAA Division I team in 21 years – and the school’s first-ever No. 1 seed.
In his 16 seasons as a head coach, Marshall’s teams have captured eight regular season conference titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament 10 times, while compiling a 368-154 overall record. He’s won seven conference coach-of-the-year honors, including three-straight in the MVC.
Marshall’s 174-71 record in his first seven seasons at WSU includes a staggering 121-24 (.834) mark over the last four years. He opens the 2014-15 campaign needing just 46 additional victories to catch Ralph Miller atop the Shockers’ all-time wins list, despite coaching six fewer seasons than Miller.
Marshall has proven adept at spotting talented prospects and developing them into high-level college basketball players, with many moving on to play professionally. During the 2013-14 season a pair of former Shockers made their NBA debuts – Gal Mekel with the Dallas Mavericks and Toure Murry with the New York Knicks. A third, 2014 New York Knicks draft pick Cleanthony Early, joined the league this fall.
In Marshall’s seven seasons in Wichita, a total of 14 Shockers have earned postseason All-MVC honors, including eight First Teamers since 2010 (equaling WSU’s total from the previous 26 years combined).
WSU’s depth and tenacious team defense has been a source of strength, throughout. Over the past five years, six Shockers have landed on the MVC’s All-Bench Team and five more have earned MVC All-Defensive Team nods.
Under Marshall, the Shockers have become a top destination for some of the nation’s premier junior college talent. Nine NJCAA All-Americans have worn the black and yellow since Marshall’s arrival, including the NBA-bound Early, who was a two-time national player of the year prior to his arrival at WSU.
Marshall has also had big success developing coaching talent, with a rapidly-expanding tree of former assistants, turned head coaches. At the start of the 2014-15 season, five former Marshall assistants were actively leading Division I programs. (Earl Grant, College of Charleston; Chris Jans, Bowling Green; Dana Ford, Tennessee State; Barclay Radebaugh, Charleston Southern; and Zach Spiker, Army)
AT WICHITA STATE (2007-Present):
In 2013-14, Wichita State won an NCAA single-season record 35-straight games before losing to National Runner-Up Kentucky in the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament.
Marshall was named Naismith National Coach of the Year, NABC National Coach of he Year, AP Coach of the Year and Henry Iba National Coach of the Year. He was also awarded the Adolph Rupp Cup, given to the coach "who best exemplifies excellence in his dedication to the game of basketball and to his student athletes."
In addition, Marshall was named MVC Coach of the Year for the third-straight season, after leading the Shockers to their second conference championship in three years.
The Shockers spent the entire 2013-14 campaign ranked in the Top 25, rising as high as No. 2 in both the AP and Coaches Polls – the school’s loftiest ranking since the 1981-82 season.
WSU stormed through the Valley with a perfect 18-0 conference record, becoming the first to navigate MVC play with an unbeaten mark since Larry Bird’s Indiana State team in 1979.
The Shockers continued their dominance during the MVC Tournament in St. Louis, winning all three games to capture their first Valley Tournament title since 1987.
After cooling off No. 16 seed Cal Poly Pamona, 64-37, in their first NCAA action, the Shockers played one of the great games in NCAA Tournament history, losing an epic clash to eventual National Finalist Kentucky, 78-76.
WSU ruled the conference’s postseason awards, placing three on the All-MVC First Team and one more on the Second Team. Senior Cleanthony Early became the first All-American of the Marshall era, landing consensus second team status, while sophomore point guard Fred VanVleet – the MVC’s Player of the Year – was a second and third team choice in several publications.
Momentum for the WSU’s historic 2013-14 season actually began the previous spring with a trip to the NCAA Final Four. The 2012-13 Shockers entered the year with lowered expectations, having lost much of their firepower from the previous year’s MVC Championship team. Early season injuries to two starters furthered that narrative, but on the court, the Shockers continued winning. They opened the year 9-0 and took the MVC race down the final night of the regular season before settling for a runner-up finish.
Early – a high-scoring JUCO transfer – was named First Team All-Valley, and senior forward Carl Hall took home Second Team honors
WSU was given a No. 9 seed when the 2013 NCAA pairings were released and quickly went to work busting brackets across America. The Shockers tripped up Pittsburgh and No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2006. The following weekend, they used quick starts to dispatch La Salle and Ohio State to earn the program’s first Final Four berth since 1965.
WSU led eventual NCAA Champion Louisville most of the way in the National Semifinal before falling 72-68.
The Final Four Shockers gained national attention, but the previous year’s squad may have been just as talented. The 2011-12 Shockers earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament but exited in the Second Round. WSU posted a 27-6 mark and cruised to the MVC regular season title with a 16-2 conference record. 7-foot center Garrett Stutz and point guard Joe Ragland became the first Shocker tandem in 30 years to both land on the All-MVC First Team. With a Feb. 18 win over Davidson, Marshall notched his 300th career coaching victory.
The 2010-11 team fell painfully short of an NCAA bid but laid the ground work for the program’s future success with 29-win season, capped by an exhilarating run the NIT Postseason Tournament title. Following victories over Nebraska, Virginia Tech and College of Charleston, the Shockers won back-to-back games at New York’s Madison Square Garden against Washington State (75-44) and Alabama (66-57) to bring home the trophy.
Marshall’s team showed steady improvement in each of his first three years in Wichita. After winning 11 games in his first season, Marshall wasted little time bulking up an inexperienced roster.
The 2008-09 Shockers improved to 17 wins, with wins in nine of their last 13 regular season contests and advanced to the second round of the CBI postseason tournament.
The 2009-10 team made further progress, earning votes in the AP poll, advancing to the MVC Tournament title game and locking down a spot in the NIT.
AT WINTHROP (1998-2007):
Prior to WSU, Marshall led the program at Winthrop for nine seasons, earning seven NCAA Tournament bids. He saved his best for last, taking the 2006-07 Eagles to their third-straight Big South Conference title and the school’s first-ever NCAA tournament victory, beating No. 6 seed Notre Dame, 74-64. He was named head coach at WSU on April 14, 2007.
The 2006-07 Eagles were ranked No. 22 in the AP and USA Today Top 25 polls. Marshall was named the Collegehoops.net 2007 Mid-Major Coach of the Year for his efforts, and also received the Collegeinsider.com Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year Award.
His final Winthrop team finished 29-5 and was the first team in Big South history to go undefeated during the regular season, posting a 14-0 mark in loop play, then sweeping three games in the Big South Tournament.
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. In addition to the two National Mid-Major Coach of the Year awards, Marshall was voted the 2007 Big South Conference Coach of the Year, marking the fourth time he had received the award (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007).
Under Marshall’s leadership, Winthrop had six 20-win seasons and averaged more than 20 victories per year. He led the 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 their 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.
Winthrop went 16-12 in 2003-04 before returning to the NCAA Tournament in 2004-05 with a 27-6 record, after defeating Charleston Southern to win the BSC Tournament.
In 1999, his first year as Winthrop head coach after being named to the position in April, 1998, 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 season was one of the biggest turnarounds for NCAA Division I programs.
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, Ariz. Sports Illustrated’s NCAA preview picked the Eagles to defeat the Sooners, but that didn’t come to fruition. Winthrop finished the year with a 21-9 record to give Marshall a 42-17 head coaching mark after two years. 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 his coaching skills were put to the test. WU was hit hard by the injury bug, but still managed to compile an 18-13 record and make its third-straight Big South title and trip to the Big Dance.
His 2001-02 team also overcame a series of injuries to win a fourth-straight conference title and earn the right to face top-ranked Duke in the NCAA tournament and finished 19-12. The following year, Marshall again reached the 20-win plateau, but missed the NCAA Tournament with a 20-10 record, 11-3 in the BSC, after dropping an 81-80 overtime semifinal game to UNC-Asheville in the Big South Tournament.
AS AN ASSISTANT:
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.
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.
Prior to that, he 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 at the College of Charleston, 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.
While 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 Atlanta Hawks, 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).
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, Wash., who earned her master’s degree from the College of Charleston. They are the parents of a son, Kellen, and a daughter, Maggie.