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It’s no shock that the wife of WSU’s head coach really cares about players

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, March 22, 2013, at 7:11 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, August 25, 2013, at 9:02 a.m.

— Lynn Marshall looks good for having 17 children.

You’ll see a lot of her during the NCAA Tournament. She’s the tall, thin, curly-haired blonde in the front row at the Shocker games who’s screaming, jumping and clapping alongside the two children she raised from birth – 16-year-old Kellen and13-year-old Maggie – and in support of her other 15 kids: her Carls, Cleanthonys and Freds.

Lynn, also known as Mrs. Gregg Marshall, is nearly as recognizable to Shocker fans as her head coach husband.

She’s everywhere in Salt Lake City this week: hanging out at the team hotel during happy hour with Shocker fans. Accompanying the players for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Sitting directly across the court from her husband during games, screaming as loudly as he does at and for the Shockers. She’ll be at it again Saturday when Wichita State University plays Gonzaga.

Lynn has said this group of Shocker players is her favorite team since Gregg started coaching.

“I think they’re very grounded, real people,” Lynn said after Thursday’s 73-55 Shocker win over Pittsburgh. “A lot of kids aren’t like that. They’re not as genuine as this team.”

And she’s not just saying that because they made her husband look very good Thursday.

Lynn, 44, said her role on the team naturally becomes that of a second mother. She grows close to the players, most of whom live far from their own families. She brings them soup when they’re sick and gives them a place to hang out when they’re lonely.

“I talk to their mothers all the time,” Lynn said. “I say, ‘Please text me if you need something.’ ”

During the heat of last summer, some of the freshman players got in the habit of texting Kellen, only two years their junior, to solicit invitations to the family pool, she said with a laugh. They’d stay and stay until it was dinnertime. Then they’d stay some more.

And on Christmas Eve, Lynn said, her family room was crowded with not only Gregg and the kids but also with Demetric Williams, Kadeem Coleby, Chadrack Lufile, Cleanthony Early and Ehimen Orukpe. They spent the evening in front of the television, reminiscing.

“We watched the second half of this ridiculous comeback over Southern Miss,” Lynn said, referring to the Shockers’ memorable Dec. 22 game at Intrust Bank Arena.

Lynn said her attachment to the team comes to a head on Senior Night, which happens at the end of every season and includes a farewell to the graduating players. Lynn exits the arena during the goodbyes.

“I can’t be in there during Senior Night,” she said. “I have to get up and go out onto the concourse.”

Those who know Lynn well describe her as an animal lover – the family has four rescue dogs and three cats – a good cook and a fierce competitor, especially when it comes to pingpong.

But mothering defines her, whether it’s for her own two children or her very tall adopted ones.

“She has a very strong maternal instinct,” said Dick Dameron, a Shocker fan and friend of the Marshalls’ who says he’s eaten Lynn’s cooking, lost pingpong matches to her and watched her strive to make family life normal for Kellen and Maggie, even during the hubbub of NCAA Tournament time.

Gregg Marshall, who describes his wife – a former basketball player herself – as possessing just enough basketball knowledge to be “dangerous,” said that her role on the team is one of the most important ones.

“She’s the most passionate and compassionate woman I’ve ever met,” he said. “She’s totally invested.

“Other than her dogs and our family, she really cares most deeply about what we’re doing and the boys on the team.”

Reach Denise Neil at 316-268-6327 or dneil@wichitaeagle.com.

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