I almost laughed out loud when a media friend from Knoxville, TN called me yesterday to gauge the level of interest Gregg Marshall would have for the Tennessee job. Does anyone down there ever look in the mirror I wondered?
Rocky Top fails to extend former coach Cuonzo Martin after last year, offering him a slight raise instead and then sits by, not even a month ago, as a petition to return Bruce Pearl as coach is signed by 36,000 fans. Never mind that Martin had toiled to pull the Vols out from under Pearl’s dishonest mismanagement, or that he’d won 22 more than he lost in three years playing in the shadow of NCAA sanctions.
Certainly underappreciated and maybe disrespected Martin was trying to get out of Knoxville, interviewing for the Marquette job after his Sweet 16 run proved that. Then when it looked as if he had made peace with Tennessee---he bolts for California, taking a coveted 7’1” prospect with him---beautiful.
Tennessee has been a revolving door for coaches (between them seven football and basketball coaches since 2008), but that won’t keep them from finding a good candidate. They’re in the SEC after all and can pay, when they want to, whatever they need to. Although, the Vols may lead the country in buyouts and vacated contracts still being paid. It’s interesting that Martin, at $1.35M was actually making less than Marshall.
While Tennessee will be an attractive job to some, other more seasoned coaches will look to it with a jaundiced eye. Coaches pay attention to the way their brethren are treated, in Marshall’s case Martin is a coaching friend, a relationship developed over a few years of playing while Martin was at Missouri State and continued over the last two years at Tennessee. Even if Marshall was to mull over the possibility of Tennessee, who do you think his first call would be to?
As if all this isn’t enough, at end of the day Tennessee doesn’t fit Marshall’s wish list which, as we’ve talked before, is a short one filled with blue-bloods. Tennessee bleeds orange not blue and they’ve left a lot of people seeing red. Besides, right now, that job would be, at best, a lateral move for Marshall.
What about the Shockers?
Oklahoma announced a home and home with Creighton over the next two years, a good get for both, but it left an Oklahoma City columnist wanting. Barry Tramel wondered in his blog yesterday why Oklahoma and Oklahoma State aren’t playing home and homes with the Shockers.
“Playing a team like Wichita State would only help the Sooners or Cowboys”, writes Tramel. “A team like Wichita State would boost either’s RPI rating. A loss to Wichita State would damage no one’s reputation. But a victory would most certainly enhance that reputation.”
It’s amazing how far Gregg Marshall has brought his program.
That a girl---
I was so happy to see to Wichita’s Tiffany Bias who was drafted in the second round of the WNBA Draft yesterday. The Oklahoma State product will get a chance to play for pay with Phoenix this summer, beyond that one would imagine that she would have an opportunity overseas. What an exciting future.