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For one day, Wichita State coaching staff takes a breather

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, March 24, 2014, at 10:21 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, April 18, 2014, at 11:37 a.m.

Somebody has to pay for a history-making college basketball season.

On Monday afternoon, the Wichita State basketball office was mostly quiet and sparsely populated. Coach Gregg Marshall wasn’t in. Chris Jans, former associate head coach, had been in earlier on his way to Bowling Green, where he will be introduced as head coach on Tuesday. Ryan Hillard, Marshall’s special assistant, answered e-mails and phone calls.

Wichita State ended its basketball season on Sunday with a 78-76 loss to Kentucky in St. Louis in the NCAA Tournament. The day after a season ends is never easy.

“You decompress a little bit from the whole season,” assistant coach Steve Forbes said. “You catch up on paperwork. I can’t tell you how many e-mails, text messages, Facebook messages that I haven’t had time to respond to. Then you have to move forward.”

First, the paperwork. A small pile of receipts sat on Forbes’ desk, ready for expense reports. In another office, director of operations Dominic Okon sat in front of his computer working on his expense reports.

“Before I forget everything,” he said.

Forbes’ smart phone is filled with messages, many congratulating him on WSU’s season. Others are coaches inquiring about the opening at WSU or a spot on Jans’ staff at Bowling Green.

“I’m getting both ends of it,” Forbes said.

Hillard said he received around 20 e-mails from Kentucky fans expressing their admiration for the Shockers, some calling WSU their second-favorite team. He will forward some of them to Marshall, who often responds.

Forbes expects the office to return to full speed on Tuesday. That is when the remaining coaches will decide which recruiting moves to make this week. While there aren’t games to watch, coaches can make visits. The Shockers are in the market for a big man after losing senior forward Cleanthony Early and senior centers Kadeem Coleby and Chadrack Lufile. In recent weeks, Harcum (Pa.) College forward Jordan Goodman and Connors (Okla.) State College forward Willie Atwood visited Koch Arena. Goodman’s team practiced there before playing in Hutchinson in the NJCAA Tournament.

Getting players focused on academics after three weeks of hype and travel is important. And Marshall will conduct a coaching search for the fourth straight offseason. This time, he must replace his top assistant.

Bowling Green announced the hire of Jans on Monday. Jans joined Marshall’s staff in 2007 and he and Okon are the only remaining members from the original group. Jans, who also worked as an assistant at Illinois State, was a head coach for six seasons at four junior colleges.

“Chris Jans is doing the things that we want to do at BGSU,” director of athletics D. Christopher Kingston said in a news release. “He is a championship coach, a championship recruiter and a championship person.”

Jans replace Louis Orr, who was fired earlier this month after compiling a 101-121 record at Bowling Green in seven seasons.

Bowling Green has made four NCAA Tournament appearances, most recently in 1968.

Reach Paul Suellentrop at 316-269-6760 or psuellentrop@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @paulsuellentrop.

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