Cecil Hurt is reporting that Alabama is in the process of doing something we'd all suspected it would since it fired Anthony Grant. Maybe earlier, for some:
University of Alabama athletics director Bill Battle will travel to Wichita today to meet with Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall, the top candidate for the vacant Crimson Tide basketball coaching job. ...
UA is expected to make a financial offer to Marshall that would make him one of the nation's Top 10 highest-paid basketball coaches. The deal would be expected to exceed the $3.4 million annually that Steve Alford received for moving from New Mexico to UCLA in 2013.
Marshall made seven NCAA Tournament appearances at Winthrop in nine years before taking over in Wichita. After taking a few years to build the place up, his Shockers broke through to the Final Four in the 2013 tournament. The team went undefeated prior to March Madness before losing to Kentucky in the Round of 32. Finally this year, he went to the Sweet 16 as a 7-seed before losing to Notre Dame.
Marshall is the hottest name in mid-major coaching right now, so it makes sense that Alabama would pursue him. Grant was a hot name six years ago too, having been an assistant coach on Florida's 2005-06 national championship team and taking VCU (which had been to one tournament in the past ten seasons) to two tournaments in three years.
The fact that Alabama is willing to pay Marshall an unprecedented sum for the school's basketball program shows that Battle is serious about elevating the team to new heights. The $3.4 million figure would put Marshall third in the conference behind John Calipari and Billy Donovan, a pair of coaches with national titles and long strings of success to their names.
It's good for Alabama to be hot on the trail for Marshall. Unfortunately for the Tide, it's not looking good for them in the Marshall sweepstakes. Others are reporting that he's more interested in the Texas job. That's one school that can easily match whatever Bama would spend, and there is more basketball talent in Texas than in and around Alabama.
Maybe today's meeting will change Marshall's mind. Maybe Battle can blow him away with a plan for success that beats out whatever Austin shows him. Alabama can't get Marshall if it doesn't try.
I wouldn't expect much to come from this meeting, though, unless Texas just lowballs him because its full of itself and its Texas-ness.