Marbut sounds off on six-game suspension

WASHINGTON STATE baseball coach Donnie Marbut said Wednesday his unusually long six-game suspension by the Pac-12 Conference resulted from umpires accusing him of "spraying" them during a heated argument in last Friday's 6-3 loss at Oregon. Update: The Pac-12 has also responded to's inquiries.

"I'm not sure what the definition of ‘spraying' is," Marbut said.

Asked if he deliberately spit or "sprayed" an umpire, Marbut said, "No one in their right mind would spray or spit on an umpire."

Marbut said the Cougars do not believe the Pac-12 permits a suspension to be appealed. The Pac-12 did not respond to a email request for a comment. Marbut said he was unaware of any response the Pac-12 made to an inquiry by WSU deputy director of athletics Anne McCoy.

MARBUT HAS SERVED two games of his suspension, which was revealed as part of Washington State's standard post-game report after Tuesday's 7-2 loss to Gonzaga. A Cougars spokesperson said the Cougars had been waiting for the Pac-12 to issue a news release announcing the length of the suspension, then made the announcement themselves after learning the conference would not make a release.

*UPDATE: Later Wednesday, after this article went to press, a Pac-12 spokesperson told CF.C that NCAA rules require a coach to be suspended two games for extended arguing after an ejection, and require another four games for unintentionally spewing spit on an umpire. No appeal is permitted. The Pac-12 could have added to the suspension, but chose not to do so.

Marbut was ejected at the conclusion of Oregon's five-run fourth inning after making an extensive protest about a balk call that inning against WSU pitcher Tanner Chleborad.

MARBUT WILL MISS this weekend's key series at Washington. The coach said he plans to watch all three games on the Pac-12 Networks and will also spend time recruiting.

"It's tough to not be there with your team," Marbut said.

The Cougars have lost four in a row to fall to 17-20. WSU is 7-8 in the Pac-12 with 15 league games to go.

Marbut said he believes the Cougars "absolutely" must finish with a winning conference record to have a chance of qualifying for the NCAA tournament for the first time since making back-to-back appearances in 2009-10. Marbut had high hopes for his experienced team this year, but the Cougars have struggled with inconsistency.

Correction: Marbut's contract runs through June 30, 2015, and Marbut said he's had no contract discussions with athletic director Bill Moos.

Asked if he expects to remain the Cougars' coach next season, Marbut said, "I want to coach in Pullman as long as they want me."

Marbut inherited a struggling program, but quickly ran off a five-year string of winning seasons that ended in 2010. His 10-year record stands at 278-267 (.510), including 101-151 (.401) in the Pac-10/12.

Pitching coach Gregg Swenson is serving as WSU's temporary head coach. Assistant coach Pat Waer, a veteran NCAA Division I assistant like Swenson, assumes Marbut's offensive responsibilities.

"The Cougs won't miss a beat," Marbut said.

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