Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall largely escaped questions about job openings in Salt Lake City.
Then he came to Los Angeles, where UCLA and Southern Cal are looking for coaches. The national media looked at his resume and wondered, “Why would you stay in Wichita, where running water is scarce and the risk of bison stampede is high?”
Marshall, 50, answered their questions in largely the same way he has in recent years. He talked about how much he likes his current job, while stopping short of guaranteeing an eternal stay in Wichita.
“Doing my job has always, for me, been the No. 1 goal,” he said. “We live well in Wichita. We love Wichita. Everything is in place for us to be there for a long time. By treating this job, as I did with Winthrop, like it’s the Celtics or the Lakers in LA, it’s taken care of us. So we’ll deal with anything like that when it comes along.”
Marshall, unsuccessful in his efforts to convince the national media that Kansans don’t live in mud huts and travel by covered wagon, went into more details.
He talked about Koch Arena and its practice gym, its offices, its locker room and the fans who fill the seats. That locker room, Marshall said, is scheduled for a renovation in the off-season. He talked about an administration that isn’t interested in a football team taking resources away from hoops. He talked about the volleyball team making the Sweet 16 and the women’s basketball team making the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s a tremendous athletic department,” he said. “Great city. We’re not named South Central Kansas State. We’re Wichita State. We’re the hometown team and we don’t compete with NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball or college football.”
He talked about unlimited use of a private plane for recruiting and a budget that lets him do what he wants for his program.
“They’ve never told me, ‘No,’” he said.
He also educated the national media on Shocker basketball history.
“Great players,” he said. “X-Man (Xavier McDaniel) and Antoine Carr and Dave Stallworth, Cliff Levingston, Cleo Littleton, and on and on. Cal Bruton. We’ve been to the Final Four. We’ve been to the Elite Eight.”
After Thursday’s game, Marshall told Yahoo Sports that he turned down $2 million offers from schools in past years. He also said conversations with Creighton coach Greg McDermott, formerly at Iowa State, and Doc Sadler, who left Texas-El Paso for a failed stint at Nebraska, influenced his thinking.
“I’m not in search of anything,” he said. “I’ve got a great life, great family, great community I live in, great school, great administration, great players. This could be a destination job for me. Now it may not be, but I’m just saying I’m not in a big hurry and I never have been.”