ACC Tournament

Raleigh & Co.: Hiring Marshall would prove NC State is serious about elite status

Posted March 8

When NC State decided to cut ties with Mark Gottfried, local media spent a week debating whether the Wolfpack coaching gig was still considered one of the elite jobs in the nation. Even before national media chimed in with their opinion, Triangle fans and media burned up social media in anticipation of what they would say. And when those national columns were filed, they didn’t disappoint. “It’s a middle of the pack job.” “Who would take it?” “They need to adjust their expectations.”

Fortunately, NC State doesn’t have to worry about hearing comments like that ever again. With one simple move, they can prove, unequivocally, that the State job is one of the best in the country, and set the program on the path to a status equal to the job’s. What do they have to do?

Hire Gregg Marshall.

Yes, he’s expensive. He turned down Alabama last year to nearly double his salary at Wichita State to $3.3 million. Doesn’t matter. Find the money. Pay him.

After the initial flurry of candidate names, the consensus seems to be focusing on a few up-and-coming coaching names, who might do a great job at NC State. They’d certainly be less costly than Marshall. Some might be as intense. Some might be as good a recruiter. There’s just one problem with them:

They’re not Gregg Marshall.

They’re Will Wade, of VCU … or Kevin Keatts of UNC-Wilmington … or Butler’s Chris Holtmann … or Dayton’s Archie Miller.

All are strong coaches. All could be great coaches. But, for the sake of argument, pretend for one second that Duke, Carolina, Kentucky or Kansas has a job opening. Would they look at Wade, Keatts, Holtmann or Miller?

Wake Forest would. So would Georgia Tech, Pitt and Boston College.

So, NC State, who are you?

The blue bloods would go after Marshall. All of them. And so should be Pack.

Giants don’t clip coupons. The one percent get their diamonds at Saks Fifth Avenue, not the rough.

If NC State wants to be considered one of the elite coaching jobs in the country, they need to go after the elite coach and land him. Break out the checkbook. Write a five, followed by six zeroes. Better yet, leave the amount blank. Just be sure to use two g’s at the end of Gregg.

If administration or boosters balk at the price – they have to buy out Gottfried, after all, and pay Marshall’s Wichita State buyout – respond with three words.

“Are we elite?”

Then three more.

“Hire Gregg Marshall.”

Here’s another experiment. Pretend you’re a Carolina or Duke fan. Who’s the one guy you don’t want NC State to get? They’d never admit it, but Marshall would strike fear in the hearts of blue bloods as soon as he arrived on campus to interview.

If hired, he’d challenge Duke football coach David Cutcliffe as the best coach in the conference at identifying talent. Since he’s in the middle of nowhere, at Wichita State, people assume he’s making something out of nothing on the recruiting trail. Fred VanVleet was a four-star recruit, though. Cleanthony Early was the top JUCO player in the nation. This year’s leading scorer, Markis McDuffie, was a four-star. Marshall got them all to come to Wichita, to play for the Shockers. In Wichita.

He’d also refuse to back down, on the recruiting front or at the scorer’s table, arguing a call during a game. Not since Rick Barnes squared off against Dean Smith have we seen a coach who was truly fearless to stand up to the league’s coaching legends.

NC State "stuff?" Gregg Marshall takes no "stuff" … from anyone.

This is a guy who has false front teeth, because he had his knocked out so many times, dentists gave up trying to put them back in. It’s a guy that got his nose broken in a practice fight with a teammate that coaches said was the worst brawl they’d ever seen on a court.

It’s a guy that, before playing Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament, ripped the Cats for not scheduling a non-conference game against him. “I think if I got to know President Obama, and he did an executive order, maybe an amendment somehow, we could get Kentucky to our place,” he said at the press conference. “But short of that I don’t think it is going to happen.”

He lost that game to Kentucky when a potential game-winning three pointer was off the mark.

NC State needs to hire Gregg Marshall, because as much as the rival teams would hate having him around, the Wolfpack fans would love him.

READ MORE: Raleigh & Co: Why Gregg Marshall must be NC State’s next coach


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  • Andrew McGuffin Mar 9, 2:24 p.m.
    user avatar

    David Jones, I agree with Part 2 (Sisyphean Task), not Part 1. They benefit from these deals, but the state is on the hook for all of the salary. And, yes, my primary beef is the corrosive effect of NCAA Division I athletics. The author of this article believes that this coach having repeatedly gotten his teeth knocked out is a plus. That's the kind of guy who would be "all in" for Bobby Knight, the kind of guy who would LOVE to see Grayson Allen playing for State.

  • David Jones Mar 9, 9:26 a.m.
    user avatar

    Coach's salaries are largely paid for by donors to the athletic department and media and shoe companies. While they are state employees (at UNC and NCSU...not Dook or Wake), they aren't really state employees.

    Complaining about your tax dollars going to a college basketball program is not what you should be complaining about.

    If your argument is that colleges have no business being involved in these billion-dollar private entertainment endeavors that serve no educational purpose, often distort educational efforts (UNC academic scandal), and have become near-cults among the would have a very strong case. You would also be facing a Sisyphean-like task getting many people in North Carolina (or Kansas or Alabama or Kentucky or Florida or Ohio or Georgia) to agree with you.

  • Andrew McGuffin Mar 9, 7:58 a.m.
    user avatar

    Mr. Krest, why not send a different kind of message to Duke and UNC, e.g., that education, rather than NCAA athletics, is where State wishes to invest NC taxpayers' hard-earned tax dollars? What sense does it make that NC's highest paid state employees are basketball coaches? It's embarassing how much they are paid, particularly in light of the academic/athletic scandals.

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