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Apr 2, 2015 2:00 PM

Wichita State reaches new contract agreement with Marshall

The Associated Press

Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall agreed to terms on a new contact, choosing to remain with the Missouri Valley powerhouse after receiving overtures from Alabama.

Terms of the agreement, which was reached late Wednesday, were not disclosed because the final contract still must be signed. It is expected to be a significant raise from the base salary of $1.85 million that Marshall was making on his previous seven-year rollover contract.

Marshall has led the Shockers to four straight NCAA tournaments, including a trip to the Final Four in 2013. Wichita State lost to Notre Dame in the Sweet 16 this past season.

The 52-year-old coach has received interest from big-name programs before, including North Carolina State and Missouri. But he has almost always turned them down Wichita State was able to finally pry him away from Winthrop after nine seasons, and that was eight years ago.

"I've said how content and happy I am at Wichita State over and over and over," Marshall said last week, when the Alabama interest began to circulate. "At the same time, I don't bury my head in the sand if a tremendous offer comes along. We look at it as a family, and that's something we've dealt with for 17 years."

The Crimson Tide fired Anthony Grant two weeks ago, and athletic director Bill Battle almost immediately focused on Marshall as his replacement. Battle flew to Wichita this week, spending an entire afternoon making his best pitch believed to be more than $4 million per year.

Marshall was considering a trip to the Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa later this week, but he instead chose to remain with the Shockers after agreeing to a reworked contract.

"I fully respect his decision and wish him and his family all the best," Battle said in a statement late Wednesday. "My objective in this search is focused on one goal: to get the best person available to lead the Alabama men's basketball program."

One of the big drawbacks in Tuscaloosa may have been the clout of the Alabama football team, which tends to dwarf the basketball program. Marshall's team is the spotlight program at Wichita State, where there has not been a football program since the 1980s.

There are other benefits to remaining with the Shockers, too.

For one thing, the program is already established. Point guard Fred VanVleet and shooting guard Ron Baker, two of the best players in the nation, are expected to return for their senior seasons. And after a period of sustained success, Marshall has reeled in his best recruiting class yet, headlined by four-star forward Markis McDuffie.

Then there's the support. Wichita State has several well-heeled boosters who ensure the program has everything it needs to compete, including chartered jets for recruiting trips and game travel. Koch Arena is one of the best homecourt advantages in college hoops, and Shockers fans have snapped up every ticket available in the arena for years.

Throw in the fact that Wichita State knocked Kansas from the NCAA Tournament and it's hardly surprising that school administrators would do everything possible to keep Marshall in town.

"It could be the last job I ever have. I could retire from there," Marshall said during a recent interview. "Probably 13 of the last 17 years, we've had decisions to make, but I've had two jobs in that amount of time."


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