Coaching search: Gregg Marshall says no, Bama’s bad week gets worse

ITKWith Alabama Athletics Director Bill Battle openly courting and failing to land Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall, the state of Alabama basketball appears to be in unprecented limbo.

Battle is to be commended for swinging for the fences in trying to land Marshall, the Shockers’ head coach since 2007. But now that Marshall has turned down the Tide’s offer, the question of where he goes from here becomes a little less clear.

Especially since the other usual suspects are finding places to roost elsewhere. Texas is reportedly trying to lure VCU’s Shaka Smart. Tennessee landed Texas’ old coach, the accomplished Rick Barnes. Mississippi State hired longtime UCLA head coach Ben Howland. Dayton gave Archie Miller a much deserved contract extension. And of course Auburn has the charismatic Bruce Pearl securely in Lee County. And now, Bama’s #1 target declined. With every passing day, the number of qualified suitors appears to dwindle.

Bama fans desperately wanted this man in Tuscaloosa.
Bama fans desperately wanted this man in Tuscaloosa.
Coach Battle’s meeting with Marshall in Wichita on Monday led to mass hysteria among Bama fans, hoping for a triumphant retrieval and a quick, Sabanesque press conference Monday night. That didn’t happen. It didn’t happen Tuesday either. Or today. And despite F5 keys being worn out on computers by the Bama nation in hopes of breaking news on Bama message boards, the silence became deafening.

Until late tonight, when the silence was broken like a resounding blast from a gong.

Which leads to the question: Can big money lure a stellar coach to the Capstone? I mean, to give the Tide basketball program life again? It worked in football, but then…you can complete the rest of that sentence. Alabama appears committed to making its next basketball coach a very, well-paid member of the Tide’s athletic community, if his name was Gregg Marshall, that is. Despite complete mediocrity on the hardwood for as long as I can remember, Bama still managed over $8 Million in profit last year.

It was widely thought that Marshall had the right stuff, which is why Battle was reportedly prepared to offer him $3.5-$4 Million to take the helm. But money apparently wasn’t the issue. Thought to be one of the up and coming coaches in college basketball, Marshall appears poised to take over for one of the big boys in his next stop. And sadly right now, one of those players IS NOT Alabama.

The Twitterverse reported that Marshall and family were preparing to visit Tuscaloosa on Friday, all while Wichita State assembled the “home team” ante to keep him. Alabama has a distant history as being the 2nd most accomplished basketball program in the SEC, though the decades of basketball relevancy under Wimp Sanderson seem like, well, decades ago. And sadly, that span isn’t being erased any time soon.

You had to think that if Marshall met with Bill Battle for eight hours on Monday (which was the scuttle), pondered the possibility since then, and planned on bringing the family to the Capstone on Friday, Good Friday at Alabama appeared to be on it’s way to being great.

But, not so much.

Now that Marshall has rendered an answer, few other answers in this search are certain. One point of encouragement, however, is that when persuing Marshall, Alabama appeared ready to take basketball seriously again. That kind of thinking is encouraging. It makes a guy think Bama is at least heading down the right path.

But with news like tonight’s answer, where that path leads, at this point, isn’t quite as clear.


(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)

23 Comments

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  1. 1
    finebammer

    sequence of events:

    “Battle plan” leaked to Scarbinsky. big money. “swing for fences”.

    Marshall is ask about Alabama while still coaching in tourney. sez he will “entertain crazy offers”

    (‘crazy’ being the operative word. Marshall called Battle’s offer crazy before he made it)

    later, Pat Forde of Yahoo reports Marshall has told ‘Bama don’t “waste your time” with an offer.

    Battle loads plane, flies to Wichita anyway, comes back without an answer or a coach.

    Silence.

    Next thing we hear from Forde, now Marshall is flying down to look Tuscaloosa over.

    within hours of Forde’s column going to print, Marshall signs deal on April Fools night.

    we’re now racing towards the April signing period. it is imperative we have a coach by Monday morn. critical time has been wasted.

    i report, you decide.

    opinion:

    if Battle walks away from this debacle and hires a White, Prohm, Pastner or Pitino, a coaching project on the cheap, (2.5 mill or under) the true basketball fans have been had. Battle can walk away from this saying he tried his best to get the best coach available. the impending April signing period has forced his hand.

    in fact, Battle pursued a coach that never intended to leave and told him so in so many words while Texas signs the coach (Smart) that was ready to jump.

    Battle was forced to fire a coach he wanted to keep. call it ‘Battle’s Revenge’. meanwhile, we’re served up this steaming pile of shit by Scarbinsky. want to know who his leaker is?? it’s pretty obvious:

    http://www.al.com/sports/index

    “This may sound strange since he didn’t get his man, but give *****Bill Battle***** credit. Plenty of it.”

    strange indeed. “plenty of it”.

    hootie ingram smiles.

      • 3
        finebammer

        i’m starting to feel radar love with the Tennessee boosters who near the end of the 1976 football season sent a moving van to Battle’s Knoxville home.

        either he has deliberately botched this search (and don’t kid yourself, this search is a raging dumpster fire) to get at a project they can keep their thumb on or……….

        Bill Battle is THE undisputed most incompetent boob in major college athletics today.

        there is no middle ground.

        regardless, as the great Woody Harrelson said in ‘White Men Can’t Jump’, “the mustard’s off the hotdog!”

        • 4
          finebammer

          and in an Alabama coaching search update, Richard Pitino has now declared he’s happy at Minnesota and not interested in the Alabama job.

          i mean, this doofus didn’t even get a raise out of this.

          but it’s now official. in basketball circles in Indianapolis this weekend, Alabama basketball will be the running joke, sneered and sniggered at the mere mention of.

          a complete laughing stock.

  2. 6
    Hunter Ford

    Finebammer

    You made the call on Johnson way back!

    Gotta give you credit.

    And shaking up the Tide Pride Blue Hairs has been one of your themes!

  3. 7
    Elmo

    What is truly awkward is how Finebaum continues to hold the world’s biggest fig leaf over this buffoon ass.

  4. 13
    finebammer

    and here we go:

    https://alabama.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1753961

    “University of Alabama athletics director Bill Battle met with former NBA head coach Avery Johnson on Saturday to discuss the head basketball coaching vacancy at UA. Although there was no immediate confirmation a deal had been finalized, Johnson reportedly emerged as a strong front-runner for the position and several media outlets in Johnson’s home state of Texas confirmed he would likely accept the job if offered.”

    as late as it is, i doubt they do anything Sunday. (Easter) if i had to guess, i’d bet on about 10a Monday.

  5. 21
    Hunter Ford

    Have to give Finebammer credit for being the first person, to my knowledge, to throw Johnson’s name in the ring.

    Johnson will be a big attraction for recruits who have NBA
    aspirations.

    The Crimson Tide now has a former NBA Champion player and a former NBA Finals head coach leading the Tide B-Ball program!

    • 23
      Denny Chimes

      Ring Night
      Join us April 9th at 6:56 PM in front of Langdon Hall for Auburn’s newest tradition: Ring Night.

      At the end of each semester before the Ring Ceremony, every class ring is placed on the Auburn seal to gain the Auburn spirit, but also becomes cursed when it touches the Seal. At the Ring Ceremony, ring recipients will dip their ring in a bowl of water from the President’s fountain, reversing the curse, but keeping the Auburn spirit that their ring represents.

      All auburn students are welcome! Join us for hot chocolate, apple cider and cookies on April 9th to witness this fun Auburn tradition and take a break from studying. Festivities last until 7:30, and the rings will be removed at 8:15.

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