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Gregg Marshall Resigns, Wichita State Could Be A Mess And A Couple Of Duke Names That Might Come Up

Wichita State v Notre Dame
 CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 26: Head coach Gregg Marshall of the Wichita State Shockers looks on from the sideline against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the Midwest Regional semifinal of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 26, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

We’ve talked before about how puzzling it was to see Gregg Marshall really dazzle at Winthrop and never get hired by an ACC team.

Marshall was at Winthrop from 1998-2007 and made the NCAA Tournament seven times in nine years. In his last season, he won 29 games and overall won 70 percent of his games. He was the precise template of an ACC hire.

Yet when openings occurred around the conference, everyone passed. Here are some of the ACC hires made while Marshall was at Winthrop:

  • Paul Hewitt, Georgia Tech, 2000
  • Leonard Hamilton, Florida State 2002
  • Seth Greenberg, Virginia Tech, 2003
  • Dave Leitao, Virginia, 2005
  • Oliver Purnell, Clemson, 2006
  • Sidney Lowe, NCSU, 2006

People talked about him though. We never heard anything specific but you got the sense that no one wanted him. Our overall impression was that he was just too cocky and disliked.

Well now we know what that was about.

There are allegations of abuse at Winthrop and later at Wichita State, and on Wednesday, his time there came to an end as Marshall agreed to resign.

Aside from racist comments and a general level of cruelty, Marshall was accused of assaulting a player and one of his assistants, and many of his former players corroborated the accusations and by forcing a popular and successful coach out, Wichita State essentially admitted the charges were true.

Marshall’s career is most likely over, at least in college, and it’s hard to imagine NBA players tolerating that sort of treatment.

He’ll be fine though. He’s made good money for the last 13 years and got a $7.75 million dollar settlement from the Shockers. Hopefully he can come to terms with his anger issues and perhaps contemplate his downfall and apply those lessons accordingly. He’s never been particularly humble so we’re not counting on that.

We’ll put some links at the bottom about the fallout of all of this and presumably, some of his former players will feel freer to talk now as well.

What’s more immediately relevant is what Wichita State does. And they’re in a tough spot and not just because of this scandal.

The university has an interim president, Richard Muma, and he’s only been on the job a couple of months and who knows what will happen to the athletic director.

Darron Boatright has been AD since 2016 and at the school longer than that. The settlement gives Marshall a lot of money and keep in mind that Wichita State originally offered $2 million before agreeing to $7.75 million.

That obviously suggests that Marshall was in a stronger position and that Wichita State couldn’t fire him for cause because, we expect, they had some inkling of what had been going on.

In other words, Marshall could have sued the hell out of them and made the scandal far, far worse.

Marshall reported to Boatright so given all of this, you’d think he might be in some trouble too. But he reports to the president and interim presidents don’t generally make major decisions. They’re about day-to-day and keeping the train on the tracks. Seat warmers really.

So it’ll take a while for all of this to sort out. In the meantime, Marshall assistant Isaac Brown will take over, which makes sense because he’s been running the team during the investigation.

It’ll take a while for all of this to sort out and then there’s the pandemic to consider.

When Wichita State does hire someone, they may be limited by the size of Marshall’s buyout and it’s not clear if the major donors, including Charles Koch, will continue to be generous.

On the bright side, this is clearly a basketball school with intense and dedicated fans and it will draw a lot of interest. And among the names that have been mentioned so far is Adrian Griffin, whose son AJ will be a Blue Devil next fall.

Griffin, currently a Toronto Raptors assistant, is a native of Wichita and said to be interested.

Thad Matta’s name has also come up although it’s not clear how his health is now after forcing him to retire at Ohio State. He’s young enough to still have a good run left and could theoretically start at any time.

We expect Jon Scheyer’s name to come up at some point but consider this: why not Nate James?

He did a phenomenal job this year working with Vernon Carey. Clearly the guy knows what he’s doing.

We’d be curious about Dan Majerle. He was really good with Grand Canyon before being fired after one bad season.

If it was us, we’d definitely look into UNC-G’s Wes Miller. He’s proven himself to be an outstanding coach. Like Marshall, if you can win consistently at a smaller school you’d have to think about it. He's averaged 26 wins per season for the last four years, including 29 two seasons ago.

We’d look at Greg Paulus. It’d be bold and probably an unpopular hire and he’s only had one season as a head coach, finishing 12-20 at Niagara last season.

However, he has the Duke connection, which sometimes helps, and he’s young and hungry. If Wichita State is on a post-buyout budget, he’d be a risk worth considering. They could give him a raise and still be under budget.

Danny Manning. His reputation in North Carolina - well, his coaching reputation because no one has really said bad things about him as a man - isn’t that great. In Kansas though he’s still a hero and that might be an interesting play for Wichita State.

This may take awhile so we’ll just have to be patient. And the AD could always go through a search firm.

Final thought: last spring, the coaching carousel was barely moving. How strange it is that it’s picked up so much speed in the fall!