There may soon be a nagging thought hanging around administrative offices.
Per Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, Wichita State will part ways with Gregg Marshall in the next few days. The reported dismissal comes amid a university investigation into alleged incidents of verbal and physical abuse by Marshall against players and staff that itself stemmed from Goodman’s reporting in early October.
If accurate, one of college basketball’s most successful coaches will soon be without a job. That could almost immediately lead to a thought creeping into the back of mid-major athletics directors across the country: can we sell the second chance narrative?
The allegations against Marshall are long and horrendous. They’ve officially turned the perception of Marshall as an endearingly prickly purveyor of tough love into something much more serious. On their face, they would seem to disqualify him for consideration into any college basketball job in the near future. But it’s probably naive to think the Shockers’ blowout win over Tulsa on March 8 was Marshall’s last involvement in Division I college basketball.
College of Charleston coach Earl Grant, a longtime Marshall assistant, was asked about his former coach during the CAA’s media days press conference on Wednesday.
“He gave me a great opportunity, was a great husband and father in terms of the example he showed me,” he said. “In terms of being a young assistant he was very ethical and wasn’t going to cheat, he was going to do the things the right way ethically.”
The results speak for themselves. Marshall is the winningest coach in WSU history with a Final Four under his belt and the development of multiple players from middle-of-the-road prep prospect to NBA player (even if a pallor now hangs over that). He captured those same sort of accolades at Winthrop, where he became the program’s winningest coach during the 2005-06 season.
Over his nine years in Rock Hill, he won seven Big South championships, made seven NCAA Tournament appearances and led them to their lone-to-this-point tournament win when they beat Notre Dame in 2007. That slew of accomplishments isn’t meant to dilute the allegations that have reportedly led to his dismissal at WSU, but they bear repeating since they are the sort of promise that some athletic departments will likely be hard-pressed to not consider.
“[It’s] very unfortunate what he’s going through,” Grant said. “I hate to see it, but that’s what social media and all the things that we [have] going on in this society, everything is magnified. Really sorry to see what he’s going through but he’s been an unbelievable mentor for me, and hopefully things will work well for him.”
There will likely be no shortage of people throughout the industry vouching for Marshall in the coming years. And in a sport where Billy Gillespie can get another job, it’s no small leap to think Marshall will be given another chance.
One of the sport’s soon-to-be burning questions is which school takes that chance.