Who WSU could target as its next head coach


Selena Favela

Texas Head Coach Shaka Smart greets Wichita State senior Markis McDuffie at the Marriott Marquis in New York on April 1, 2019.

Head men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall submitted his resignation, the university announced Tuesday. Marshall’s resignation follows an internal investigation into Marshall after abuse allegations surfaced. Assistant coach Isaac Brown will serve as the interim head coach for the upcoming season.

The Sunflower compiled a list of possible candidates the university should consider to replace Marshall in the years to come. 


Adrian Griffin, Toronto Raptors

Griffin, a Wichita native, is a candidate the university should keep an eye on as a replacement for Marshall. Griffin played high school basketball at Wichita East High School and collegiate basketball at Seton Hall University before he began his coaching career. Griffin was a three-year starter for the Pirates and was inducted to the Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Fame.

Griffin’s coaching career has taken place at the NBA level. Griffin has been an assistant coach for five NBA franchises (Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors). Griffin is currently serving as the lead assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in six games to win the 2019 NBA Finals in Griffin’s first season there. Griffin is currently coaching former Shocker Fred VanVleet. 

Griffin’s ties to Wichita and his experience as an assistant coach on the NBA circuit should excite Shocker fans if he gets selected. According to multiple reports by the Wichita Eagle and KAKE, Griffin has interest in the position if an opening presents itself. -Joe Baker


Greg Heiar, East Tennessee State 

While Heiar recently accepted an assistant coach position with the East Tennessee State University basketball program for the 2020-21 campaign, he could be an ideal hire to lead the Shockers men’s basketball program. Heiar was an assistant coach for the Shockers from 2011-2017. Heiar played a role in developing former Shockers Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet into NBA talents while he was at Wichita State. 

After his stint at Wichita State, Heiar accepted an assistant coach position at Louisiana State University. Heiar served as an assistant coach for the Tigers for two seasons and in his third season he became an associate head coach for the program. 

Heiar has well established ties in recruiting and helped bring in back-to-back top-ten recruiting classes to LSU. Heiar’s familiarity with the program and his ability to recruit talent nationally is what makes him an ideal fit for the vacant head coach position at WSU. -Joe Baker


Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa 

Jacobson has been able to build a very successful program at the University of Northern Iowa since 2006 and built it to be one of the best mid-major programs in the country. Jacobson has led the Panthers to four NCAA Tournament appearances including a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2010. 

In the 2019-2020 season, UNI finished with a record of 25-6 prior to the cancellation of the season due to COVID-19. Jacobson has accomplished a record of 269-170 in 14 seasons with the Panthers and has been awarded as the MVC Coach of the Year on four separate occasions. 

If Jacobson is looking for an opportunity to move up to a better conference, then WSU could interest him. Jacobson knows the midwest well which could help for recruiting. -Sean Marty


Danny Manning, Wake Forest

Manning could be a target as WSU’s next head coach and is currently on the open market. Manning most recently served as the head coach at Wake Forest University from 2014-20 with a record of 78-113. Manning led the Demon Deacons to one NCAA Tournament appearance in his six seasons there. 

He also coached at Tulsa University for two seasons prior to Wake Forest and led the Golden Hurricane to the NCAA Tournament during the 2013-14 season. Manning had a successful playing career at the University of Kansas where he helped lead the Jayhawks to a national championship in 1988. 

According to KAKE’s Chris Lily, it’s reported that Manning has been reached out to about possibly coming to WSU. Manning has had success in recruiting which could be helpful if he decides to return to Kansas and coach the Shockers. –Sean Marty


Thad Matta, Ohio State 

Matta is an excellent choice for the Shockers to fill its vacancy for the head coaching position. Matta has been a head coach at three Division-1 programs: Butler University (2000-01), Xavier University (2001-04) and Ohio State University (2004-17). 

Matta led the Ohio State Buckeyes to five Big Ten regular-season titles and two Final Four appearances. Matta’s Buckeyes were a two seed in the NCAA tournament in 2013 and lost to Gregg Marshall and the nine seed Shockers in the Elite Eight. Matta stepped down after the conclusion of the 2016-17 season due to health problems. 

Matta is the coach with the most wins in Ohio State basketball history with a 337-123 record and would offer Shocker fans a consistent winning program on the hardwood. He only had one season with under 20 wins during his tenure at Ohio State which was during the 2016-17 season when the Buckeyes went 17-15. -Joe Baker


Shaka Smart, Texas

Although Smart currently holds a Power-Five coaching job, he could be on the market if he struggles with Texas this upcoming season. Smart started his coaching career at Virginia Commonwealth University where he took the Rams to five straight postseason appearances including a Final Four appearance in 2011. 

Since arriving at the University of Texas in 2015, Smart has had some success with two NCAA Tournament appearances but has struggled to find consistency within the program. Smart has a record of 90-78 in his five seasons there including an NIT Championship in 2019. 

Smart is currently under contract until 2023 but could be on the hot seat depending on the performance of the Longhorns this year. Smart could be a target in the opening as he hopes to regain the consistency and success he had with VCU. -Sean Marty