Wichita State will reportedly fire head basketball coach Gregg Marshall this week, in a move that should have happened a while ago. Marshall has been with the program since 2007, but he'll soon be gone after the school launched an investigation into his contact after several of his former players accused him of mental and physical abuse. While Marshall is getting the ax, Wichita State needs investigate how his abuse went on unabated for years.
Marshall was accused of a number of things, including physical and verbal abuse of players and staff. He punched former player Shaq Morris multiple times and is accused of taunting Native American player Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler with "howling noises" and other offensive comments. He also choked assistant coach Kyle Lindsted during the 2016-17 season. Multiple sources backed up all of those stories and there are more. Marshall is also accused of regularly using racist language. Reports suggest his rage wasn't just directed at players and staff. He was abusive to marketing people, the employees on the academic side and he also reportedly attempted to punch a student once.
It would seem after information like that, it was a slam dunk that Marshall would be fired, right? Well yeah, but this is collegiate athletics, where athletic departments make horrific decisions on a weekly basis. Marshall has been wildly successful at Wichita State and posted a record of 331-121 (.732), won five Missouri Valley Conference championships and led a trip to the Final Four in 2013. The school could have easily tried to bury these allegations and limp on hoping everyone would forget. He's a hell of an on-court coach, after all.
Wichita State is going to do the right thing by firing him, but in reality, he should have been canned when the allegations surfaced in early October. What's worse, rumors about Marshall's conduct had been floating around in college basketball circles for years. If you've ever wondered why a guy who was so successful at Wichita State never moved up to a big-time program, the answer is fairly obvious now. This was an open secret.
Five years ago I heard rumors about Marshall abusing players and staff. I didn't have anything concrete, but it was enough to be concerning. Then when I covered the 2017 Maui Invitational, beat writers from several teams were openly discussing his conduct, as if everyone knew and had just accepted that was the way things were done in the program.
Wichita State turned a blind eye to these rumors for years. He was winning and bringing in a lot of revenue to the athletic department, and therein lies the problem. If I heard rumors about him -- and a number of prominent beat writers heard them -- people at the school had to have gotten wind of it years ago. If they ignored the abuse of players so as not to rock the boat of their financial cash cow, that is reprehensible. The people in charge must be held to account in the same way coaches are.
Marshall acted the way he did, but he also clearly felt no fear that his abuse would be punished. It went on for years and by no one investigating him, he was being enabled. The people in charge at Wichita State need to take a long look at themselves and ask how that was allowed to happen.