SALT LAKE CITY — Gregg Marshall has just returned to his swank suite at the Hotel Monaco in downtown Salt Lake City. He’s done coaching the Shockers in their victory over Pittsburgh on Thursday and has finished chatting up Shocker fans during the hotel happy hour.
His wife, Lynn, is on the phone, laughing.
“Oh, Gregg will love that,” she says, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
Some friends want them to go out for dinner at Little America for steak. It’ll be great. We have to eat.
“Let’s just get some food up in the room,” Gregg says, untucking his shirt and sinking onto the couch.
It’s unwinding time in the Marshall hotel suite, which is abuzz with giggling from Lynn and two of her best friends from Wichita, sisters Diane Fletcher and Robin Van Huss. There are occasional pop-ins from the Marshall children, 16-year-old Kellen and 13-year-old Maggie, who’d rather run down to Starbucks with pal Sloan Baker, kid brother of Shocker player Ron Baker, than hang around in the suite.
There are congratulations all around for Gregg, who admits to his friends how nervous he was during the game – even when the lead was large.
“I wanted to get to a comfortable margin,” he tells them. “I thought, ‘Now the only thing that could happen is we lose this lead and look like the dumbest team in the country.’ ”
His computer is flipped open on his lap and his phone is buzzing.
“I’ve gotten more than 100 texts and e-mails today,” he says. A few minutes later, another one comes in – this one containing congratulations from a referee friend.
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Lynn confesses to her husband that she forgot to DVR the game back at home – oops – and that she lost the lime he desperately wants for his drink.
There’s talk of dinner tomorrow night with the team. The Cheesecake Factory.
The Cheesecake Factory? In Salt Lake City, home of blocks and blocks of fabulous restaurants?
“These guys eat four things,” she says, laughing.
The kids come back. Lynn teases Kellen about a girl, and he feigns ignorance. After several urgings from his mom and Fletcher, he offers up his best impersonation of Will Ferrell in “Anchorman.”
Gregg’s distracted from sports for a minute and starts reminiscing about a recent night in Wichita when Fletcher’s husband, Andy, was “completely shellacked in shuffleboard at the Marshall residence.”
ESPN is on. The announcer offers a recap of the Shocker game. It’s a good thing he can’t hear Lynn, whose critique of his critique is often colorful.
“Um, we were up by seven, math major.”
She’s not afraid to speak her mind to Shocker naysayers, her friends say, and Lynn agrees. She tells a story about the time a particularly rude fan was heckling her at a game. She was sitting beside Kathy Sexton, wife of WSU athletic director Eric Sexton.
“I told her, ‘I’m going to turn around and say something to this guy. You can either go before I do it, or you can stay.’ She said, ‘Oh, I’m going to stay.’ ”
Shhhh. The WSU-Pittsburgh game stats are on the screen.
“The game was won by coaching,” says the announcer. Applause in the room for Gregg.
More talk of dinner tonight.
Little America, Gregg. Let’s go. We have to eat.
“Can’t we just get some food up in the room?”