After Marshall Stays Put, Search Continues

Give Alabama Athletics Director Bill Battle credit for aiming high, but long shots (except in “American Sniper”) frequently miss. After Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall flirted with the Crimson Tide head basketball coaching job, he ultimately decided he was happy at Wichita State.

Battle and Marshall had met all day on Monday as Alabama went hard for its top choice to be its new basketball coach. There had been unconfirmed reports that Marshall and his family intended to visit Tuscaloosa later this week, possibly to be wooed by Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban and his wife.

Late Wednesday, The University issued a statement from Battle saying, “I received word tonight that Coach Gregg Marshall has chosen to remain the head basketball coach at Wichita State. I fully respect his decision and wish him and his family all the best. My objective in this search is focused on one goal: to get the best person available to lead the Alabama men's basketball program. I remain determined to bring to our program a proven head coach with impressive credentials, one who understands and values our program, wants to lead our program, and is excited about what can be accomplished at the University of Alabama."

Obviously, Marshall was tempted. Not only did he spend all day Monday with Battle, he took a few days to allow Wichita State to make a counter offer.

From the beginning of Bama’s search, Marshall was candid about two things. One, he would listen to the Crimson Tide. Two, he was very happy at Wichita State, where he has dominated his league and been successful in NCAA Tournament play.

He is likely even happier today. As is frequently the case in a coaching search, Wichita State stepped up to the plate, giving Marshall a raise from $1.75 million to $3.3 million. There were unconfirmed reports that Bama had offered $4.2 million per year.

The story now is that Battle — who is not using a search firm — goes back to work, and, in a sense, possibly aiming higher. He might still go for a mid-major — Archie Miller at Dayton and Bama alumnus Steve Prohm at Murray State are frequently mentioned — but he might also go for a major college coach or take the NBA route.

A couple of potential targets (not necessarily really wanted by Alabama) went off the table earlier to other SEC teams, former UCLA coach and current TV analyst Ben Howland to Mississippi State and fired Texas coach and former Crimson Tide assistant Rick Barnes to Tennessee.


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