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If you’re Missouri, you have to call Gregg Marshall

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Marshall has proven himself to be one of the best coaches in college basketball, and for this reason you AT LEAST have to check in with him.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri State at Wichita State Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

With Missouri’s head coaching job opening up, it’s time to talk about some potential candidates. What’s the best way to do that? Start with the really, really, really, long shots first.

Profile: Gregg Marshall

  • Current Salary: $3.3 million/year
  • Buyout: $500,000
  • Career Win%: .724 (451-172)

I know it, you know it, everyone knows it. Gregg Marshall is almost certain not to be Missouri’s head basketball coach next season. But I’ve got the foundation for how you get Gregg Marshall.

It’s the “almost” part that makes me have to write this piece. Gregg Marshall is the white whale for most college programs at this point. If you can find a way to land him, you’re going to have success. What Marshall has done at Wichita State is beyond impressive. WSU is a fairly proud program with good history, but he’s turned them into an outright powerhouse. The Shockers routinely run through the Missouri Valley, and have had multiple NBA draft picks over the last few years as well.

For his work, Wichita State is no longer a mid-major but a major team playing in a mid-major league. Just this season alone they are 27-4 and 17-1 in league play. Their worst loss this year? A 77-72 neutral court loss to Michigan State.

There is a segment of Missouri fans and media who will immediately dismiss the chance of Missouri luring Marshall out of hand. The odd of luring Marshall to Columbia obviously aren’t great, but they are greater than zero.

Yes, he turned the job down last time; we know that much. He also was coming off a 1-loss season where WSU was one poor seeding in the NCAA away from making a second run to the Final Four. Oh, and he had two of his three best players set to return as juniors. It’s hard to walk away from that, especially when your own kid is going to be a senior in high school.

If you want to get in the conversation with a coach like Marshall, this is how you get there:

  1. Start with a long contract. Most coaching contracts are of the 5-year variety. It’s basically industry standard, but sometimes when you know what you’re getting, you can go longer. I’d start with seven years and be willing to go to eight.
  2. Back up the Brinks truck. Marshall is already making north of $3 million, so flashing SEC money isn’t enough. If you want to get his attention, you’re probably going to have to start at $3.75 million per year, and you need to be willing to go well into the $4 million range. Keep in mind you could offer $5 million and that STILL might not be enough. But to be in the conversation, this is the neighborhood you have to live in.
  3. Bump up your budget in other ways. Two areas of importance are the recruiting budget and the assistants pool. Recruiting is an area Missouri will need to improve on budget wise — currently the school is in the top 40 but could easily bump that up into the top 20 or top 15. Their assistant pool is less than $1 million. Push that into the $1.3-1.5 million range, at least.
  4. Go the extra mile. This goes for any Athletic Director who wants to land somebody like Marshall. You need to show him that he will always be wanted there, and you can put that in one simple way. He is already paid like a top 15 coach. So put in a clause that for the life of the contract he will remain in the top 5-7 highest paid coaches in all of college basketball. We’re talking Calipari, Krzyzewski, Self, Pitino, Miller, Izzo, Marshall.
NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Providence Practice Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

That is elite money, and Missouri could afford it. The reason why you pay for somebody like Marshall is because he is going to win, and he is going to turn your program into a revenue generator. In that aspect Mizzou is a bit of a sleeping giant, capable of creating a lot of money and being a boon to the athletic community in Missouri.

You want to know about my list? Gregg Marshall is at the very top. He should be the first call anyone with a vacancy makes, just to see what it would take to bring him to the table. If you don’t at least make that call, you are doing yourself and your program a disservice.

That said, The likelihood Marshall ends up as the head coach at Mizzou? I’d guess about 3.4% ... roughly equivalent to Mizzou’s chances to beat Florida in Gainesville this year. We saw how that turned out, eh?