Former assistants thrive as head coaches


The Sunflower

Head men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall has helped Wichita State’s student-athletes to success on and off the court, making five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.

The players are not the ones that have individual success when they go through the Shocker basketball program. In Marshall’s 10 years, four of his assistant coaches have earned the top job at Division I programs.

“Coach Marshall gives you a blueprint of how to run a first-class program,” East Tennessee State head coach Steve Forbes said. “When you’re sitting right next to a man who is one of the top coaches in the United States, you get to see it all.”

Marshall traveled to Northwest Florida State to recruit Carl Hall and Tevin Glass. An assistant coaching job opened up at the conclusion of the 2013 Final Four run and Marshall offered Forbes the job as his newest assistant.

WSU had the best start in college basketball with the help of Forbes, posting a 35-0 record in 2013-14. He assisted with scouting reports and development of post players to lead WSU to victories over Indiana and Kansas in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

At the conclusion of that season, the East Tennessee State head coaching job opened up and Forbes was offered a contract for his recruiting abilities and his extensive background as an assistant coach for Division I teams like Tennessee and WSU.

In Forbes’ first year as head coach, he led ETSU to a 24-12 overall record. Even though the Buccaneers lost to Chattanooga in the Southern Conference Tournament finals, ETSU earned a trip to Las Vegas for the first annual Vegas16 postseason tournament.

The Buccaneers lost to Oakland University in the semifinals, but Forbes uses the experience with WSU losing to Kentucky in the Round of 32 in the 2014 NCAA Tournament to build on the foundation for this upcoming year.

“Under Coach Marshall, I learned that team’s change every day,” Forbes said. “The hardest thing in the end was to continue to get better and push our team. I learned a lot from him in that area.”

Marshall was an assistant coach at the College of Charleston when he recruited former assistant coach Earl Grant as a player. Grant recalled first encountering the WSU head coach at a midnight basketball festival on a Friday night in 1995.

When Marshall took his first head coaching job at Winthrop, he recruited Grant again out of junior college, but chose to finish his playing career and education at Georgia College in Milledgeville, Georgia.

After an assistant coaching job opened up at Winthrop in 2004, Marshall continued to recruit Grant to join his team, but this time as a coach.

“I was always a fan of his,” Grant said. “I was very fortunate to join his staff at Winthrop and then follow him to Wichita State.”

In Grant’s six years at both Winthrop and Wichita State, he learned the importance of getting players that fit the system and the importance of playing defense as well as rebounding. Grant said that he learned skills that are used off the court, such as being a good family man at home along with holding players accountable academically.

The preparation of being a head coach, however, was not just the learning aspect of the game. At WSU, Grant would attend speaking engagements and would speak to the media on radio shows and after games.

“A lot of times your reputation in this business will make or break you,” Grant said. “I was fortunate when I worked with (Marshall), he always talked about doing things the right way and not taking short cuts.”

After taking the head coaching job at the College of Charleston in 2014, Grant hired former WSU point guard Matt Braeuer as the Director of Basketball Operations. The main reason for Brauer choosing to work under Grant was the influence that he had on him when he was a player.

“For me personally, he was a good mentor for me because he was a point guard and I learned a lot from him,” Braeuer said. “All the things factored into why I made the move, because it wasn’t an easy decision, but it was made easier because of who he is.”