Wichita State men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall resigns after internal probe into claims of physical and verbal abuse against players and assistants – and he gets a $7.7million settlement on the way out the door
- Wichita State men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall has resigned and agreed to a $7.7 million settlement following the school’s internal probe into his behavior
- Marshall was accused of verbal and physical abuse, including claims he punched a player in 2015 and choked an assistant coach during the 2016-17 season
- He has denied the claims, calling them an ‘unrelenting character assassination’
- The school did not reveal the findings of its internal probe before he resigned
- In October, the school hired a St. Louis law firm to conduct an internal probe into Marshall’s behavior following reports of abuse from Stadium and The Athletic
- Marshall was entering his 14th season with the Shockers after posting a 524-204 career record. His career highlight is guiding Wichita State to the 2013 Final Four
Wichita State men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall has resigned and agreed to a $7.7 million settlement following the school’s internal investigation into allegations of verbal and physical abuse, including claims he punched a player and choked an assistant.
The settlement will be paid out over six years, the Kansas university announced Tuesday. Wichita State has not revealed the findings of its internal investigation.
Assistant coach Isaac Brown was promoted to interim head coach as the Shockers approach their season opener on November 25.
Wichita State men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall is denying allegations that he punched a player and choked an assistant during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, saying the claims that triggered the ongoing school investigation are part of an ‘unrelenting character assassination’
Former Wichita State forward Shaq Morris (left) told Stadium he was punched twice by Marshall during an October 2015 practice, and former guard Ty Taylor said he saw it happen. Three eye witnesses told Stadium that they saw Marshall choke choke assistant coach Kyle Lindsted (right) during the 2016-17 season. Lindsted, who is now an assistant at Minnesota, declined to comment on the accusation to Stadium
‘This was a difficult decision, but one I feel was necessary for my family, the university and, most importantly, the student-athletes,’ Marshall said in a statement.
‘I remain grateful for my years spent at Wichita State. I wish to thank the coaches, student-athletes, the university, the community, and all of Shocker Nation for their unending dedication, support and loyalty. I am incredibly proud of this men’s basketball program and all it has achieved over the past 14 years and am confident of its continued success.’
Marshall was entering his 14th season with the Shockers after posting a 524-204 record in his career and a 331-121 mark at Wichita State, a mid-major school be guided to the NCAA Final Four in 2013.
In October, Stadium reported eyewitness claims that the 57-year-old Marshall choked assistant coach Kyle Lindsted during the 2016-17 season and punched Shockers forward Shaq Morris in 2015.
He previously denied the allegations to The Wichita (Kansas) Eagle, calling them an ‘unrelenting character assassination.
‘In response to the allegations put forward in the media, I simply state unequivocally that I have never physically struck a player or colleague,’ Marshall wrote in an October statement. ‘Allegations claiming otherwise are false.’
While Marshall’s resignation may not have been a complete surprise, his settlement was curiously high, according to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, who compared the situation to former Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie being dismissed empty handed for minor NCAA compliance issues in 2018.
‘UConn wouldn’t give Kevin Ollie the money he was owed for minor rules violations,’ Goodman tweeted. ‘Wichita State gives Gregg Marshall $7.75 million after punching a player, choking an assistant and numerous incidents of verbal abuse. What the hell are we doing here?’
Goodman reported that one unidentified former Shockers player called the settlement a ‘joke.’
Former Shockers guard Ty Taylor (pictured left) said he saw Marshall hit Shaq Morris twice in 2015. Morris and Taylor were the only players who agreed to be identified; the others said they feared retribution and community backlash because Marshall’s winning record has made him popular, Stadium reported
The school’s inquiry began after Wichita State learned Stadium was conducting an investigation that included interviews with 36 players and former coaches.
‘He’s a maniac, a bully,’ an unidentified former assistant told Stadium. ‘He disrespects people, brings up personal stuff, family, girlfriends.’
As Morris told Stadium, the 2015 incident when he committed a hard foul in practice against teammate Zach Brown.
‘I went over to help [Brown] up, and as I was helping him up to make sure he was okay, ‘bam’ – I’m struck on the left side of my face with a punch,’ Morris said.
‘I turned back with my fists ready to punch or swing,’ he continued. ‘I don’t know who did what and I see Marshall standing there. I turned around and started walking out.’
Last spring, six scholarship Wichita State Shockers players plus a walk-on transferred. In addition, 2020 commit Ja’Dun Michael (pictured) asked out of his letter of intent, according to The Athletic
One player said Marshall called Morris a ‘motherf***er’ while another said the Coach accused the player of committing the foul intentionally.
The fact that Morris’s back was turned when Marshall punched him stuck out to several of the six witnesses who spoke with Stadium.
‘Shaq walks away and Marshall punches him in the back of the head,’ a former player told Stadium. ‘I’m in disbelief. He’s done flagrant stuff, but that was probably the reason I [transferred]. I lost respect for him as a man.’
The incident took part during a particularly difficult time for Morris, whose mother had been diagnosed with cancer that same day, according to a former teammate.
Marshall reportedly apologized to Morris, but only after point guard and team leader Fred VanVleet threatened not to practice. (VanVleet has been a member of the Toronto Raptors since 2016 and is set to become a free agent)
‘[Marshall] comes down in the film room and says, ‘First off, I just want to apologize to you,’ and he pointed at me,’ Morris told Stadium. ‘Then he said, ‘We good? We good? We good? All right, let’s move on.’
‘Shaq didn’t say [anything] and finally said ‘alright,” according to one player. ‘Then they turned the film on and the next day we practiced.’
Morris also said he witnessed Marshall choking Lindset during the 2016-17 season.
‘I looked over and saw coach Marshall choking him,’ Morris said. ‘Then people started de-escalating the situation, trying to calm him down.’
‘We were in complete shock,’ another player said. ‘To see him do that to another coach was crazy.’
Marshall reportedly apologized to Morris for punching him, but only after point guard and team leader Fred VanVleet threatened not to practice. (VanVleet, pictured, has been a member of the Toronto Raptors since 2016 and is set to become a free agent)
Morris and Taylor were the only players who agreed to be identified; the others said they feared retribution and community backlash because Marshall’s winning record has made him popular, Stadium reported.
‘I love my teammates, the city and Wichita State,’ said Morris, who played at Wichita State from 2014-18. ‘But if I could go back to that day when he punched me, I would have left.’
Taylor transferred to the University of North Carolina Wilmington after the 2015-16 season.
Marshall has denied ever striking a player
Last spring, six scholarship Shockers players plus a walk-on also transferred. In addition, 2020 commit Ja’Dun Michael asked out of his letter of intent, according to The Athletic.
‘It wasn’t just players — the academic people, the marketing, everybody,’ a former player said to The Athletic. ‘If you had to associate with Wichita State basketball, you got caught in the crossfire. I lost respect for him because I saw the way he treated my teammates and other people.’
There were other allegations as well, including the claim that Marshall told struggling Colombian-born center Jamie Echenique that he would be ‘a great coffee bean picker.’
He also allegedly demanded that a player admit to being stupid after forgetting an assignment on a particular play call.
In once alleged incident, Marshall accused a white player of being scared of black defenders.
‘I think you’re afraid of brothers, guys raised by their grandparents eating PB&J’s,’ Marshall allegedly told the player, according to Stadium.
‘We were tight-knit off the court,’ an unidentified player told Stadium. ‘We all wanted to beat Marshall up. If he wasn’t the head coach, we’d whoop his ass. I’m not a fan. I’m not rooting for him. I got tired of being ‘motherf***er’ and being called a ‘son of a b****’ every day.’
Wichita State’s Shaq Morris and his teammates react after winning the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament with a 71-51 win over Illinois State on March 5, 2017 in St. Louis
One player admitted that things were so bad, he contemplated suicide.
‘Basketball was no longer fun for me,’ the unidentified player said. ‘I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t even enjoy living life then. I’m not saying I was thinking about committing suicide, but 99 percent was because of how he treated us. We all hated Marshall so much it made us closer together, like a brotherhood.’
Another unidentified player did defend Marshall to Stadium, saying he’s ‘always been respectful to me and my family.’
‘He’s one of the reasons why I had so much success playing the game,’ the player told Stadium. ‘I have nothing but respect for him.’
After the accusations against Marshall were made public, Kentucky sports radio personality and author Matt Jones posted video from a 2016 exhibition between the Shockers and McGill, a college in Montreal, in which the Wichita State coach needed to be restrained by players as he pursued officials for several minutes. Marshall was ejected, later admitted he ‘perhaps’ went too far.
‘I wasn’t going to do anything physical,’ he told reporters, ‘but I wanted to make sure they understood what I felt was happening was incorrect and wrong.’
Marshall was entering his 14th season with the Shockers after posting a 524-204 record in his career and a 331-121 mark at Wichita State, a school he guided to the NCAA Final Four in 2013